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CNET Interview with Jeff Hawkins

News.com has posted an interview with Palm and Handspring founder and Pilot creator Jeff Hawkins. Taking place in the immediate aftermath of the D5 symposium and Foleo unveiling, the article is written by Ina Fried, a CNET tech reporter. Ina was joined for the gathering by our very own Ryan Kairer and Dieter Bohn from TreoCentral in this quick but fairly enlightening Q&A-type session. An additional piece containing additional information and some feedback from Dieter can be found here on the Treocentral site.

Entitled "The best idea Hawkins ever had", the interview excerpts posted by CNET comprise a 2-page piece listing most questions highlights asked by all three interviewers as well as Hawkins' responses. Hawkins primarily retreats ground covered in the earlier presentation in outlining why he thinks the Foleo will usher in a new era of personal computing. The 2nd page of the article goes onto address the Foleo's role in shaping future Treo designs, including a tantalizing tidbit about a possible future Treo devoid of a keyboard and/or with a larger screen.

Ryan also posed a direct question to Hawkins about the future of the PDA business. Hawkins' rather disinterested, non-committal response to the question--he sees the PDA market as not worthy of additional investment and at a "mature" state -- is fully covered in the CNET article. A PIC article currently in the works will reveal more details of Ryan's chat with Jeff Hawkins as well as the outlook of traditional pocketable PDA-type devices.

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Hawkins interview on CNET

cervezas @ 6/1/2007 8:23:23 PM # Q
Very good interview. Addresses a lot of comments people are making here.

* There will be more applications at launch time (10-12 3rd party developers working on these apps now)

* Foleo changes how Palm will be thinking about future Treo designs (Treo without a keyboard is an example, but he hints at more profound changes)

http://tinyurl.com/2tjrd8

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
hkklife @ 6/1/2007 9:00:41 PM # Q
They should have FIRST done was release a Plinux-enabled, multimedia-centric PDA (safe territory) to test the waters, THEN a larger-screened Treo, THEN something like the Foleo.

That's like saying you have a state-of-the-art Mercedes parked under a rotting old carport. Or a 1080p HDTV plugged into a vintage 1982 VHS VCR via coax cable.

Isn't it an oddball situation when the slave device is far, far more advanced than the host device upon which it is critically dependent?



Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
hotpaw03 @ 6/1/2007 9:14:29 PM # Q
Servers need client devices.
RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
twrock @ 6/1/2007 9:36:30 PM # Q
A Treo without a keyboard and a large screen! Wow! Who'da thunk of that?

But Hawkins still seems to think the the iPhone is "wrong" for going that route:

Look at what Apple's doing. They decided to punt the keyboard. Steve Jobs thinks that's great. I don't know. We'll find out.

I don't think Jobs is wrong. I think there is plenty of people who are asking for a variety of devices. Why doesn't Palm simply deliver that variety instead of only offering one design?

If the PDA market is "mature" and Palm really isn't going to do any further development, then how about just finally integrating the best of their current/past lineup into the "mother of all" PDA's for one final release? Please Palm, give us the TX2 with the missing stuff put back in and "unlimited" SDHC support. The hackers have already shown you how easy it is to do! There is no good excuse for not doing it.


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Want an alternative? Try this: http://www.ubuntu.com/ or http://www.mepis.org/

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
cervezas @ 6/1/2007 10:33:54 PM # Q
hkklife wrote:
Isn't it an oddball situation when the slave device is far, far more advanced than the host device upon which it is critically dependent?

That's strange. So you consider your PC to be a "slave device" to your Treo? Master/slave doesn't apply in any meaningful sense I can find here. Neither does client/server. The relationship between the Foleo and Treo seems to be peer to peer in every respect except for one: that synchronization seems to be initiated from the Foleo (at least that's all we've seen). You can initiate, flag or file an email from either device and its contents and status are synched to the other. Should work the same with other apps.

One new thing about this synchronization: they said it is optionally a continuous operation. I'm wondering if they really mean that. Could I be typing away on a document, hit save, grab the phone and leave the house and just have the document on my phone without any special action being taken? Continuous sync seems to suggest we're not talking about HotSync, but some new protocol more akin to ActiveSync.

If the sync protocol is new, what capabilities does it have? Could I sync over an IP network? Could I in fact initiate the sync from the phone? Say I didn't want to eat up my batteries and tempt Bluetooth fate with continuous BT sync: could I instead initiate a sync from my smartphone over a VPN to grab the latest version of a document that's back on my WiFi-connected Foleo at the office? (This is how Seven and some other PIM and doc sync products work today, but with Palm now controlling both sides of the sync it could be an integrated built-in feature.)

Thinking about the implications that Hawkins identified for how Palm might change the Treo now that Foleo is on the scene. If I can sync over the Internet, think about how nice it would be to have a Treo with drive mode: I never have to remember to sync up my stuff to my flashdrive before I leave for a trip now because I can do it anytime, anywhere. And I don't need the IT department to sign off on this or to have my personal data on some Google server somewhere to accomplish this. It's totally peer to peer.

Don't know if this is where they are going, but in any case I think it's interesting to realize that Palm has some extremely interesting options they can explore now that they own both the pocketable device OS and the new "personal computer" OS. That's an advantage that Microsoft has always had over them, and now the gap is being closed.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
ballistic @ 6/1/2007 11:07:06 PM # Q
Thanks for the link to that article David. It sounds like they have major plans for mobile computing in which the Foleo plays a central part but they don't want to reveal everything. Within the next six months to a year, I'd expect:

Palm to introduce services in the cloud for the Foleo + Treo

Palm to introduce new Treo devices that are possible now that the large screen and keyboard are on the Foleo

While they're saying that the Foleo is not a replacement for the traditional laptop, they should just come right and say that they envision that within the next 5 years or so the Foleo + Treo will completely eliminate the need for a general purpose laptop.

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
rsc1000 @ 6/1/2007 11:07:26 PM # Q
>>They should have FIRST done was release a Plinux-enabled, multimedia-centric PDA (safe territory) to test the waters, THEN a larger-screened Treo, THEN something like the Foleo.

hkklife, I agree.

I am impressed that he doesn't seem as oblivious as the initial idea behind the Foleo makes him seem. Basically - hew comes out and says that he intends to use the 'smart phone companion' thing as a way to get a new class of personal computers in the market. And i think a *true* appliance type of device (i cringe when i think of my grand mother struggling with a window box) is needed and has been overdue for a while. and I dont mean a mac.

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
rsc1000 @ 6/1/2007 11:11:32 PM # Q
>>But Hawkins still seems to think the the iPhone is "wrong" for going that route:

>>Look at what Apple's doing. They decided to punt the keyboard. Steve Jobs thinks that's great. I don't know. We'll find out.

twrock, i think what he is saying is that the iPhone is wonrg. What he is saying is that although the device doesn't need a keyboard, there does needs to be a keyboard option somewhere. In other words: he's implying that Jobs is wrong to think u don't need a real keyboard option and is basically saying that in the future, the Foleo is the keyboard (and screen of course) for the Treo. I=Or at least thats an option.



RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
ballistic @ 6/1/2007 11:12:16 PM # Q
should read: "...almost completely eliminate the need for a general purpose laptop for a significant number of users."
RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
rsc1000 @ 6/1/2007 11:14:36 PM # Q
>>twrock, i think what he is saying is that the iPhone is wonrg.

God - i need to read my posts before hitting submit. What i meant to say was:

twrock, i don't think that he is saying that the iPhone is wrong.

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
twrock @ 6/1/2007 11:53:54 PM # Q
rsc1000, ok, so today you're having trouble typing and I'm having trouble reading.

I actually thought Hawkins had said "I don't think so" instead of "I don't know". Yes, that is not the same meaning at all. Thanks for pointing that out.

Remind me, does the iPhone have Bluetooth? Will that allow for keyboard "connectivity"? I know that there will be an on-screen keyboard, but I also know from my use of Scott's very nice Thumbboard app, it isn't that easy to use an on-screen keyboard no matter how well the software is implemented (visual and audio feedback at this point). In another sense, it really doesn't matter that the first iPhone doesn't have an integrated keyboard. This is Apple's first smartphone product. If they think there is a good market for a smartphone with a keyboard and they can make money from it, they will be making one.

But I still think that Palm has been foolish for not delivering a large screen, keyboardless Treo. There has got to be enough market for that device to make it worth the development. Apple believes so. Palm left the door wide open for Apple to come along and establish themselves in the smartphone arena. The iPhone could have been seen as following Palm's lead. Now if/when Palm finally delivers that type of product, it is they who will be following Apple, trying to play catch up.


Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt
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RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
twrock @ 6/2/2007 12:30:44 AM # Q
I'm just sitting here feeling more and more frustrated with Palm! What is it with these guys!!!!!

Palm, go and beg Dmitry Grinberg (http://www.clieuk.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=4488) to come and work for you. Pay for his college education. Hire him as a consultant. License his hacks. Whatever it takes. He not only writes (and often gives away) the most useful hacks, but he figured out how to put back all the missing hardware you left out of the TX. He's even developed ROM replacements for the TX, enhancing it significantly. (I'd love to see how long it would have taken him to develop the 700p ROM update!)

Ok, I feel the tiniest bit better. I'd feel a lot better if I really could believe that there still was any hope.


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Want an alternative? Try this: http://www.ubuntu.com/ or http://www.mepis.org/

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
palmato @ 6/2/2007 9:27:22 AM # Q
>* Foleo changes how Palm will be thinking about future Treo designs (Treo without a
> keyboard is an example, but he hints at more profound changes)

Now Palm has the perfect excuse not to to include wifi in their future devices. Clever Palm marketing dept: outfoxing the competition. :-)

When the foleo is available on ebay for 100$, it will be nice to get one, remove Palm DOS Linux and install something like Damn Small Linux (aka DSL): now that can be an interesting device.


--------------------------
Hey Admin: Why do we have to keep two profiles?

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
rpa @ 6/2/2007 11:13:29 AM # Q
I was also underwhelmed with the Foleo announcement but maybe, just maybe, Hawkins is ahead of the curve. A thin Linux client with wifi/phone capabilities might be useful for those who can use web based applications like Gmail and Google Docs. They could add a slot for a GSM SIM card and forget the phone perhaps? In the meantime, I'll keep nursing along my Tungsten E and el cheapo Moto flip phone. And my Toshiba notebook that covers my email requirements.

rpa
RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
SeldomVisitor @ 6/2/2007 11:21:04 AM # Q
> ...maybe, just maybe, Hawkins is ahead of the curve...

Yeah, and maybe he's not.

Maybe he's someone who's simply living off a decade-old reputation and STILL getting away with it.

Maybe LifeDrive II really IS as bad as first impressions say it is, without thousands of "But it's GOTTA be!"s (or MUCH more correctly labeled "But it CAN'T be that bad!"s) dreaming up amazing projections of where it MIGHT be sometime down the road - EVEN including Mr-Closed-Down-Brain-Institute Hisself!

What was that quote? Paraphrased:

== "...where our thinking is leaning..."

!!!

Yeah, THAT'S ready for prime time, alrightee!

Giggle.

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
rpa @ 6/2/2007 11:34:56 AM # Q
Seldom: 'maybe not' is my bet but let's see if Palm can come up with something we can get excited about later like the large screen Treo hinted at in the interview. Or a small flip phone so I can drop my 'E' and Moto phone for a one piecer.

rpa
RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
SeldomVisitor @ 6/2/2007 11:47:44 AM # Q
> ...Or a small flip phone so I can drop my 'E' and Moto phone
> for a one piecer.

For sure.

But that is neither a TREO nor FOLEO.


RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
rpa @ 6/2/2007 11:51:29 AM # Q
I see the Treo 270 flip phone is still available on Ebay...

rpa
RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
SeldomVisitor @ 6/2/2007 11:56:33 AM # Q
[I knew I should have qualified my response....giggle]

A LONG time ago somewhere I posed a question something like:

== When is a TREO no longer a TREO?

in the context of "How much functionality can be removed before you have something other than TREO?".

Taking away the QWERTY keyboard, removing the ability to expand the device, whatever.

Is it a TREO?

[we already have the 1984-ish Marketing doublespeak of the Fooleo being somehow better than the TREOs at composing email on the road (or the equivalent of "two devices needed while typing on the road" (!!!)) , etc...what's next?]

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
mikecane @ 6/2/2007 12:26:50 PM # Q
twrock: Perhaps you should do an article about all those TX mods? I'd be interested in reading it!

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
twrock @ 6/2/2007 1:02:33 PM # Q
Mike, just have a look at Dmitry's website: http://www.palmpowerups.com/
Click on "Downloads" and "Experiments" to see some tech stuff.
Look for him over at 1scr.com as well. His hardware hacks are amazing (like microphone, vibrating alarm and LED for the TX). The ROM replacement stuff is really cool too. He's doing a bunch of stuff that Palm should have done in the first place.


Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt
Want an alternative? Try this: http://www.ubuntu.com/ or http://www.mepis.org/
RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
mikecane @ 6/2/2007 1:05:26 PM # Q
You are just trying to shirk the task of writing an article that brings everything together for people like me who'd rather have people like *you* do all the work. Besides, you have a TX. I have a LifeDrive. I don't know that all of his stuff would apply to me, but an article would go far towards making me think I should grab a TX when the End Of The PDA World Fire Sale happens.

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
twrock @ 6/2/2007 1:12:25 PM # Q
Who, me? Trying to avoid work? May it never be!


Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt
Want an alternative? Try this: http://www.ubuntu.com/ or http://www.mepis.org/
RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
Scott R @ 6/3/2007 9:12:08 AM # Q
twrock, the early slideshows of the iPhone showed it using a portrait-mode thumbboard. That seems very unusable to me. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, they'll at least allow the user to use it in a two-thumbed landscape mode as well.

As you said, there are real disadvantages with even a great touchscreen-based thumbboard, like I like to think mine happens to be ;). But there are some distinct advantages as well: The ability to customize it for languages, user preferences, app-specificity, etc. And I personally think that extended typing on a widescreen virtual thumbboard is more comfortable (even if a bit more typo-prone) as compared to typing on the Treo's too-tiny thumbboard.

I'd love to see a thin all-screen Palm OS or WM6 smartphone for me to optimize my app for. Maybe not entirely screen: model it a bit after the Zodiac so it has some form of "hard" navigation and hard-buttons (for comfortable gaming and countless other uses). Give it Wi-Fi, an 800-pixel-wide screen, and a great browser, and I would be a very happy man. For extended typing sessions, pair it with an as-yet-uninvented stowaway full-size keyboard with integrated trackpoint (aka eraserhead) and it would meet the needs this FOLEO claims to meet and would do so in a much more portable/pocketable design.

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: Hawkins interview on CNET
twrock @ 6/3/2007 9:57:16 AM # Q
Scott, spot on!

Yes, your Thumbboard app is well implemented, and even visually attractive. Your comments on what form-factor you would like to see for a smartphone are exactly what a number of us are hoping for as well. So far, hope is all we have. And you even like trackpoints too! It really would be cool to have a folding BT keyboard with a trackpoint for navigation.

In this initial implementation, the Foleo is being marketed as a companion to your smartphone to basically do two things: keyboard and screen. The keyboard issue is already resolvable via any number of add-on keyboards, most being almost as small and portable as the handheld itself. I'm curious about what might be possible to resolve the screen issue. Why not some kind of video out from the handheld where the power-hungry large screen has its own power source? And maybe some kind of "dual-mode" video chip in the handheld that has significant power reduction in "standard" mode (small internal screen), but that jumps up to be a higher-end graphics chip when paired with the larger screen or even a projector (and can get additional power from the screen's power source). I don't really know what might be possible, but I'm curious about other options.

Since I've got your attention, one more "out there" idea to attempt to implement for the Thumbboard. This comes from a discussion over at David Beers site a while back. Since the Zodiac has a vibrating alarm, might there be any way to implement kinetic feedback for key "clicks"? Maybe there is too much lag in the activation of the vibration or maybe it can't be short enough in time, but it would be kind of cool to see what can be done. Another possible problem might be a significant reduction in battery life. I have no idea what kind of current that little vibrator pulls.




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Reply to this comment

Au revoir

VampireLestat @ 6/2/2007 1:02:45 AM # Q
Hawkins in regards to PDAs:
======================
"That line is in its later years. It's mature. It's declining. We are not actively looking for a really clever thing to do in that space. It's probably not going to come from us."
======================

Not going to come from you huh? I heard all I needed to hear. Enough is enough.
In the coming days, I am migrating my data over to WM. I am erasing all my Palm OS software. I am erasing all my Palm OS help guides, I am no longer posting to any Palm related forums. I will NEVER buy a Palm product again (including WM). They no longer exist to me. And, I will make sure to talk bad about it whenever I hear anyone uttering the work "Palm" or "Treo".

10 years now I bought their products and fought to promote them. That's it; FINISHED!
Watching these fools invent cockamania retarded devices is difficult enough to forgive; but for both the CEO AND NOW the chief inventor go on record multiple times stating that PDAs are dead and that --> they are not even trying anymore <-- infuriates me.

Slackers. Losers.
The free market will soon take care of Palm Incorporated.

RE: Au revoir
DevPOV @ 6/2/2007 10:01:46 AM # Q
I agree with you whole-heartedly. This is no way to inspire developers to continue through the mangled versions of garnet trying to support the latest Treos. I read that line and figured, WTH, I'm done.

RE: Au revoir
mikecane @ 6/2/2007 12:15:36 PM # Q
I don't see WM as a compelling alternative. PalmOS still has the ease of use I need, particular when it comes to PIMs. I've owned a Toshiba GENIO, so I speak from personal comparison.

Given that it seems Palm is not going to do much -- if anything -- with PDAs, it makes me glad I have my LifeDrive (LifeFlash).

Before you drop PalmOS for WM, I'd give it a month and wait to see what the iPhone brings. If any new product will inspire devs, that'll be the one. And you can be sure there will be devs to make it work with Win PCs!

RE: Au revoir
hkklife @ 6/2/2007 12:51:59 PM # Q
Hawkins' words from this past week just reeks of someone whose recent actions are marked with a total defeatist worldview.


He's basically ceding the FAR-FROM-PERFECTED PDA market to Appls' iPod....it doesn't even have a touchscreen, removable memory, built-in networking or user editable PIM data!

He then thinks the Treo line is undeserving of IMMEDIATE big-time R&D expenditure and updating.

So he creates a device devoid of most of the hallmarks that have defined Palm Computing--no touchscreen, not pocket-sized, and completely derivative design (mini notebook formfactor with a tired old IBM Trackpoint cursor nub).

I figure Hawkins and Palm's engineers determined it was too difficult to try to cram a decent sized battery, a fullsize SD slot and a larger-than-320x320 screen into something the size of a Treo or a TX. So they gave up and went with the relatively 'large' subnotebook chasis filled with...absolutely nothing.

How sick is it that the four year old Tungsten T3 has more built-in functionality (and better multimedia capabilities out of the box) than the Foleo? And let's not even mention the Zodiac.

Had Palm been smart they'd have snatched up the remnants of Tapwave several years ago and relaunched it as a web browsing multimedia tablet. All Palm would've had to do was graft the superior Palmified PIM apps and Athena connector onto a Zodiac 2 and beef up the battery. And of course, churn out a solid set of drivers/init strings to ensure compatibility with BT DUN on a wide variety of mobile handsets. There's your real "mobile manager" device! Perfect form factor--larger than a standard Palm PDA but still pocketable. Larger screen, dual expansion slots, 3.5mm headphone jack etc etc. Then after a year or two of pushing Garnet to its limits with such a device, drop in PLinux and an EVDO modem. Bingo!



Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Au revoir
Scott R @ 6/3/2007 9:16:38 AM # Q
"Had Palm been smart they'd have snatched up the remnants of Tapwave several years ago and relaunched it as a web browsing multimedia tablet. All Palm would've had to do was graft the superior Palmified PIM apps and Athena connector onto a Zodiac 2 and beef up the battery. And of course, churn out a solid set of drivers/init strings to ensure compatibility with BT DUN on a wide variety of mobile handsets. There's your real "mobile manager" device! Perfect form factor--larger than a standard Palm PDA but still pocketable. Larger screen, dual expansion slots, 3.5mm headphone jack etc etc."

I was thinking and hoping for the same thing after Tapwave folded. It would have been so easy (and likely cheap) for Palm to have simply picked them up. Or for that matter, rethink the TX design and just clone much of the good the Zodiac design offered. Release it with and without a built-in phone and satisfy the needs of many all with very little R&D spent.

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: Au revoir
inetken @ 6/4/2007 12:44:49 AM # Q
Jeff Hawkins extinguished the last hope I had of a new Palm PDA. The LifeDrive was a step in the right direction and I was hoping on a updated model to replace my Zire 71. Instead of further developing a platform, Palm decided to take a new direction, phones, and effectively kill the PDA.

It would have been revolutionary if they came up with a PDA 75% of the size of the Foleo (or 125% of a Lifedrive, just approximating here, maybe the size of a Nokia N800?) with an included, but nicely integrated, detachable keyboard, the PDA would attach in landscape mode. The keyboard could be placed in your briefcase or laptop case and the PDA carried around with you. The unit would automagically switch between portrait and landscape a la the iPhone. Return to the original Graffiti. Then have all the features of the Foleo for those who want the Treo sync. Then you have that market and the market I want to be in, a simple cell phone with a PDA (with lots of cool software).

Palm Pilot Pro --> Palm Pilot III --> Zire 71 --> Franklin Covey Planner

Ken

RE: Au revoir
sungod @ 6/4/2007 3:28:04 AM # Q
Please Palm all I want is:
A Basic Phone with 3G pref HSDPA running PLinux.
See the HTC Clamshell Smartphone/Dopod S310 or a candibar HTC MteoR or iMate SPL( I prof the Candibar).

Pair this with a T|X alike PDA/Smartphone companion with your new instant pairing system.

This would make a lot of people (Me & Vampy) very happy

How good are cargo pants, they're a gadget lovers best friend.

RE: Au revoir
PilotMad @ 6/6/2007 10:33:55 AM # Q
It's seems a shame that some people do not understand the business lifecycle of a product in that after maturity of the product, it goes into decline. This happens to all products and is unavoidable. Any good business will recognize this and prepare themselves accordingly.

If the Palm PDA has reached this stage, and I believe it has, with the exception of some technological improvements. Then we must all realize that development effort on these products will be cut drastically.

Jeff is right to imply the end/decline of the pda, but he has not many declarations about Palm ceasing to work on the product entirely.

A new version of the TX with Palm Linux OS, and incremental improvements to wifi etc. is probably about all I would expect. But only time will tell, we will have to wait and see.


Reply to this comment

Maybe, but not yet.

twrock @ 6/2/2007 1:17:26 AM # Q
I spent way too much time reading through all of the posts the past couple of days. I certainly could understand the huge amount of frustration and skepticism at the Foleo announcement. Most of us had very high hopes for what was coming ("secret third business"), and this product apparently wasn't anything that anyone had been wanting. It seems completely out of left field and completely off the mark.

I was sitting on my bed, with my recently purchased, second-hand Dell Inspiron 700m running Ubuntu Linux sitting on a lap tray, reading though hundreds of posts. I bought this particular Dell simply because I wanted a cheap, small, non-Windows, take-anywhere-in-the-house-and-quickly-be-on-line "computer" instead of being tethered to a desktop machine. I paid $500 for the Dell and replaced the battery with a 4+ hour upgrade for another $50. It still is too big, too heavy, and too hot. If I would have bought it new, it would also have been too expensive for what I was trying to accomplish.

So at that moment, I looked again at the Foleo and started to imagine. What if?

I don't think that this initial release of the Foleo is at all what I was looking for. I can imagine that it might be some day. But if this is no more than a companion to the Treo that I don't have and don't want, then I'm surely not going to be one of the early adopters.

I can imagine a lot of "potential" for this device, but I'm very skeptical that Palm is going to end up taking it where I want to go.

Will this be the death or the savior of Palm? I don't know. They've got plenty of other problems that could kill them as well. I do know that I still want a "computer" that is small enough to fit in my pocket and can at least do what my TX can. So I'm still hoping for a TX2, with or without voice.


Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt
Want an alternative? Try this: http://www.ubuntu.com/ or http://www.mepis.org/

RE: Maybe, but not yet.
Konstantin @ 6/2/2007 9:03:50 PM # Q
Wise thoughts.
Before jumping on the "I have not yet touched the Foleo but I am ready to jump on the rant bandwagon and yell 'I will not forgive..', 'I ma throw all my Palms away" blah blah blah, to ask oneself the question "What if"

It is too early to rant.


Reply to this comment

Where Hawkins missed the boat: ubicomp does not equal one device.

pmjoe @ 6/2/2007 2:49:10 AM # Q
Herein lies the whole problem with the Foleo IMHO. Hawkins described this as a "category" of devices, BUT HE HAS ONE DEVICE!?! If Foleo had been a line of 3, 4, 5 devices, sort of a "pick and choose the size shape that fits your lifestyle" all running the same Linux-based Palm OS, then this would be something. With just one device, it has all the appearance of a one-off device that if it fails you're stuck with useless, non-standard, underpowered piece of hardware. There is no motivation for developers to support this when most developers want to support something they want to use themselves, in particular something with a laptop form factor (they can already get laptop form factor devices with better hardware and development tools),

This is where it appears Hawkins has missed the boat. It honestly sounds like he put a lot of effort into designing THIS DEVICE, but ubiquitous computing is more than that. Lets assume his notion of a Treo/smartphone centric world is right, where you always carry your phone (a reasonable assumption). Then you need a line of lower cost devices where people can pick and choose which ones they need for their lifestyle. If Palm had released this device along with even just one new PDA size device and a slightly larger slate device all running the same OS under a similar premise, we'd probably see this as something to cheer about. But honestly, all the interviews and the introduction make it sound like Hawkins put his heart into this particular device. Sure, he alludes to this being one of a category of devices, but anyone with a brain is going to read that as: if and only if this Foleo succeeds, and that is one huge IF.

RE: Where Hawkins missed the boat: ubicomp does not equal one dev
cervezas @ 6/2/2007 9:00:13 AM # Q
There is no motivation for developers to support this when most developers want to support something they want to use themselves...

Developers are business people. Like all business people, the successful ones are more concerned about what their customers need than what they need for their personal use. A transcript of the last few days on the Palm Entrepreneurs Forum would thoroughly disprove your statement. I don't have results of a survey to back this up, but if the activity and tone on PEF is any indication, most of us who sell software to the masses (and understand their mindset) are realizing that the Foleo represents a very interesting new business opportunity.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Where Hawkins missed the boat: ubicomp does not equal one dev
SeldomVisitor @ 6/2/2007 12:00:13 PM # Q
> ...A transcript of the last few days on the Palm Entrepreneurs
> Forum would thoroughly disprove your statement...

Yeah, well, if buggy whip manufacturers had had internet forums I'm sure those, too, would have been interesting in the early 1900s.

Wonder what transcripts of Linux Developers Forums look like?

RE: Where Hawkins missed the boat: ubicomp does not equal one dev
cervezas @ 6/2/2007 12:35:42 PM # Q
Check out Slashdot: http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/30/203201

There are about 300 comments there, which says something in itself. Most are positive or at least show interest in the idea.

Of course, SlashDot really *is* the group that want a Foleo for themselves. They've been craving a cheap, lightweight, Linux PC for so long that they've even cast glances at Negroponte's OLPC. Now that's desperation!

Some samples:

When the Palm handhelds came out, everyone said the same thing. "Why do I need this?" "This will be a complete flop." "No one will buy it." And today, handhelds are an established market.
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I think Palm have been quite smart on the market for this: email is the niche that will pull some discretionary business users (the sort who buy their own phone or other gizmos if not too expensive) that travel a LOT and don't need a full laptop - mostly execs, meaning it's critical that Palm connects the Foleo to Blackberry very quickly. The Linux base and openness are what will pull in the geek community to provide open source apps and make the platform more capable. And commercial developers from the Palm world will see this as a good way to expand their market, covering a number of different smartphone platforms.

One other interesting thing: Palm recently bought the developers of Chatteremail, a great push email app for Palm OS that uses IMAP IDLE to enable instant email delivery from most IMAP servers. This is great for people who want Blackberry style instant email delivery, without the cost of a Blackberry subscription and the clunky Blackberry OS and hardware.

Another smart decision is to work with all types of smartphone - the smartphone market is very fragmented so this could be a great way to maximise market.

Bottom line: Real road warriors hate the weight of "real laptops" and the delay in getting email, waking up the laptop, poor battery life, etc. Given a light power brick (apparently more like a phone charger than a laptop's), I think the Foleo is a real winner.
---
This is much more like what an OLPC should be. ARM == low power & cost relative to an x86. I think OPLC got it wrong when they went x86 - which looks like it was done solely to support Windows.
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The most compelling features are instant on/off, e-mail sync, long battery life, and VGA out for presentations.
---
I expect the Foleo to be very good at what it does. What remains to be seen is if it is good enough that people will want the supplement for their smartphone, or the replacement for the large laptop. However, as a standalone device for people lacking a small laptop and a smartphone, it will still probably be good given the price.

There are plenty of cheap laptops on the market nowadays. Not too many at $500, but plenty at $700+. The problem is that those machines are often crap, and are seldom truly portable. The Foleo seems to be taking the approach of not pretending to be a desktop replacement, and instead focusing on being really mobile. So, while there are laptops that can match the Foleo in portability, they can't approach it in price.
---
[In response to a guy who says his Powerbook is far more capable:]
1) Sleep is not instant. A palm is instant.
2) You push ONE button on your powerbook, and up pops the email client from your treo right there on the powerbook screen? And you can edit all your email and any attachments right there? And the email stays on the treo?
3) When you send email from your powerbook, it sends it from the treo using the cellular network so you don't have to be logged in a local wi-fi network (if any) for it to work?

I have dozens of wi-fi setups on my laptop as I travel all over the world. The ability to do my email wherever there is cell phone coverage, on a big screen with a real keyboard and zero hassle is *very* compelling...throw in some presentations on a CF card and I can leave the laptop behind...

Sounds like the Foleo is FAR more capable than your powerbook for business travelers, you know people who already have treo's, blackberry's etc.
---
For your basic word processing, spreadsheeting, emailing and (sans flash) web surfing a multi-gigahertz laptop with 720i widescreen, DVD RW and about 30 minutes battery life is overkill. Laptop makers have been constantly upgrading the laptop into a full-blown PC and leaving the laptop ethos behind.

This is a solution to a very current problem. Smartphones are too small to be used for serious work, and laptops are too big, heavy and powerful to be lugged around everywhere.
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Actually if the price gets down around the $300 range and it has enough memory I can think of a lot of uses for it.
The company I work for has a vertical product and we sell a good number of laptops. If we could bundle it with this device and if it could run for say 8 hours on a battery it would be great.
No more mucking about with multiple versions of Windows, no more virus's and malware. Just what we used to call in the industry a "toaster".
I could see a lot if uses besides sales reps. Frankly if they can get an Internet link then they don't even need Act. Salesperson.com could be your CMS. And if your company did things right you could use a VPN from it and use Web based apps for a lot of you industry specific work like placing orders.
Police officers could use it. Place a Wifi/WAN bridge in the police car and then use the wifi in the this device.
There are a lot of uses for this device. Yes a sub notebook could do but they tend to be more expensive than this device and more power hungry.
I still see the ideal price point as around $299 but it may sell even at $500.
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Most decent subnotebooks are around $2000, and they have a boot-up time.

I kind of like the idea of pressing a button and it's just running, rather than waiting a minute or two for a notebook to boot up.
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etc.

There are more, and of course there are plenty of disparaging comments too: jokes about the Audrey, comparisons to old Win CE devices, complaints that it's underpowered and won't stream video, complaints that it should be smaller. Overall, though, it's had a very respectful and interested reception within the Linux-oriented Slashdot crowd, I'd say. Especially when you consider what a rough crowd that can be!


David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Where Hawkins missed the boat: ubicomp does not equal one dev
SeldomVisitor @ 6/2/2007 1:00:53 PM # Q
And the REALLY silly thing is Ubuntu is now available standard-stuff from Dell.

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