I certainly didn’t see this one coming.
Palm have scrapped the launch of the company’s “mobile companion”, the Palm Foleo. Announced at this year’s D: Conference, the device was touted as a brand new product category in itself — a note-pad-sized laptop, designed specifically to dynamically sync with and compliment the computing power of a smart-phone.
The problem that Palm was attempting to solve with the Foleo, is that no matter how powerful cell phones have become, there are times when a larger screen and proper keyboard makes more sense — such as composing emails, editing a spreadsheet, or using web apps. To which Foleo critics replied: “that’s why we have laptops”.
For now at least, we won’t get to find out if there is room in the market for a device that sits somewhere between a smartphone/PDA and a fully fledged laptop.
Writing on Palm’s official blog, CEO Ed Colligan, explained the company’s decision:
In the course of the past several months, 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. To that end, and after careful deliberation, I have decided to cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all of our energies on delivering our next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market.
Colligan says that the decision will cost the company $10 million, and that he and co-founder, Jeff Hawkins, still believe that “the market category defined by Foleo has enormous potential”. He then goes onto suggest that there will be a Foleo II sometime in the future.
Many will feel that, despite having to make an embarrassing U-turn, Palm has made the right decision to put the Foleo on hold, and instead funnel all of the company’s efforts into its next generation, and overdue, smart phone OS. Pursuing two different platforms, in which the Foleo has a far from proven market, was just too risky for a company whose competitors include heavyweights such as Nokia and Apple.
For posterity, here’s a video of Hawkins D: Conference Foleo demo below…