Palm Officially Introduces the Foleo
Palm has officially announced the Foleo, its first smartphone companion product. The Foleo has a large screen and full-size keyboard with which to view and edit email and office documents residing on a smartphone. Edits made on Foleo automatically are reflected on its paired smartphone and vice versa. The device stays in sync via a bluetooth connection and it also includes a built-in Wi-Fi radio for general Internet connectivity.
The Foleo mobile companion turns on and off instantly and features fast navigation, a compact and elegant design, and a battery that lasts up to 5 hours of use. Its applications include email, full-screen web browser, and editors or viewers for common business documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files.
Foleo and its paired smartphone stay synchronized throughout the day or at the touch of a button. This powerful combination is for productivity-minded business people who want a more complete mobile solution for email, attachments and access to the web.
Although designed primarily as a companion to a mobile phone, Foleo is a powerful computer on its own. Its Linux-based operating system and built-in Wi-Fi radio make it easy for developers to create new applications that can be installed with a single click in the browser. The Foleo has a USB port, video-out port, headphone jack, and slots for SD and compact flash cards for memory expansion. This combination of capabilities in a low-cost design is new in the industry. Palm has opened its design and is actively supporting third-party software developers.
"Foleo is the most exciting product I have ever worked on," said Jeff Hawkins, founder of Palm, Inc. and the visionary behind the Foleo's concept and definition. "Smartphones will be the most prevalent personal computers on the planet, ultimately able to do everything that desktop computers can do. However, there are times when people need a large screen and full-size keyboard. As smartphones get smaller, this need increases. The Foleo completes the picture, creating a mobile-computing system that sets a new standard in simplicity."
Primary Capabilities and Attributes of the Foleo Mobile Companion:
- One-button access to full-screen email
- Instant on, instant off
- Rapid access to various applications
- 10-inch screen and full-size keyboard (1024 x 600 pixels)
- Web search and browsing via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
- Editors for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, plus a PDF viewer
- Compact, stylish design that fits on an airline tray table
- Lightweight at 2.5 pounds
- Fast, simple and intuitive navigation
- 5-hour battery life
- Linux OS for easy application development
The Foleo mobile companion's hardware design features elegantly clean lines and forgoes excessive latches and connectors. An innovative scroll wheel, clever forward and back buttons, and a convenient track point enable easy navigation without requiring the user's hands leave the full-size keyboard.
By building the Foleo on an open Linux-based software platform, Palm hopes to replicate earlier success with developers by drawing a large community to create new applications that will extend the mobile companion's capabilities. Palm already has partnered with DataViz and Opera Software, demonstrating the ease with which exciting technology and applications can be ported to the Foleo mobile companion. Palm also will produce tools to allow smartphone manufacturers to make devices compatible with the Foleo mobile companion.
Drawing on Palm's world-class usability and responsiveness, the Foleo mobile companion gives Palm OS and Windows Mobile based smartphone customers more power and flexibility while retaining the most-loved features of the Treo smartphone. For example, customers open the Foleo, press a button, and it turns on instantly. There is never a delay or boot-up time. A dedicated button provides access to email. All work is saved, so there is no need to close applications or take actions in order to save files. When the Foleo is turned on again, it resumes where the user left off.
It is easy to view the web through built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios, using the Opera browser. Using Bluetooth, a Treo smartphone acts as a wireless modem for the Foleo. Alternatively, customers can use the Foleo mobile companion's built-in Wi-Fi.
The Foleo mobile companion also supports the most popular types of attachments. As on the Treo smartphone, the mobile companion uses a version of Documents To Go customized by DataViz. People can create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint compatible documents. The Foleo also includes a Palm-developed PDF reader.
Foleo mobile companions work with Palm's Treo smartphones (Palm OS and Windows Mobile versions). However, Palm believes that most smartphones based on Windows Mobile should work with little or no modification. Smartphones based on operating systems from Research in Motion, Apple, and Symbian likely can be supported with a modest software effort. The Foleo's synchronization architecture is open, and Palm expects to work with third-party developers to support as many smartphones as possible.
U.S. availability for the Palm Foleo mobile companion will begin this summer. The price of the Foleo mobile companion is expected to be $499 after an introductory $100 rebate. Palm has a email signup page to be notified about Foleo availability.
New: For more details, head over and read our notes from the Foleo webcast presentation today.
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