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Palm tables Linux-based Foleo

Sep 4, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Palm has canceled the Linux-based Foleo mobile companion, CEO Ed Colligan announced today on the company's blog. Colligan said the move would cost the company $10 million in earnings, but allow it to focus on a single Linux smartphone development platform going forward.

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Palm announced the Foleo in May, describing it as a new class of mobile device designed to expand the email, Internet, and productivity application capabilities of mobile phones such Palm's Treo, by adding a full-size keyboard and a larger screen. In announcing the Foleo, Palm Founder Jeff Hawkins predicted it would prove more successful than Palm's original Palm Pilot, and more successful than Palm's current Treo smartphones.


Foleo spotted at LinuxWorld, with Nokia N800 and Treo 680
(Click to enlarge)

Weighing about two pounds, and with instant-on and off and five-hour battery life, the Foleo was to be a simpler, more nimble laptop replacement for traveling workers. Based on a power-stingy ARM processor, it would offer a 10.4-inch 1024 x 600 LCD. Software would include an Opera browser, Powerpoint viewer supporting mini-VGA out, and automatic Bluetooth synchronization with email and documents stored on the user's smartphone.


Actual screenshot of Foleo's menu of “instant on” apps
(Click to enlarge)

Shortly after announcing the Foleo, Palm revealed plans to sell a significant portion of the company to Elevation Partners, a venture capital firm run in part by Fred Anderson, who formerly served as CTO at Apple during its turnaround.

In his post, Colligan wrote in part, “As many of you are aware, we are in the process of building our next generation software platform…We are working hard on this platform and on the first smartphone that will take advantage of it. It has become clear that the right path for Palm is to offer a single, consistent user experience around this new platform design and a single focus for our platform development efforts.”

The “new platform” may be based on Wind River Linux, as the company previously announced plans to transition the Foleo to Wind River's embedded Linux platform. Palm and Wind River collaborated on a well-attended Developer Day event at LinuxWorld in August. The event required attendees to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) in order to attend.

Foleo down, but not out

Colligan did offer a ray of hope to fans of the Foleo concept. He qualified the cancellation as being limited to the Foleo “in its current configuration.” Thus, it seems likely that the company will maintain skeletal engineering resources charged with porting the ARM-based Foleo to the same platform as Palm's Linux-based Palm Treo.

Colligan noted, “Our own evaluation and early market feedback were telling us that we still have a number of improvements to make Foleo a world-class product, and we can not afford to make those improvements on a platform that is not central to our core focus.”

Colligan added, “When we do Foleo II it will be based on our new platform, and we think it will deliver on the promise of this new category.” He declined to specify a timeframe, however, saying only, “We need to get our core platform and smartphones done first.”

Colligan's complete blog post is here.


 
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