updated 02:15 pm EDT, Wed May 30, 2007
Palm Foleo Official
Palm has at last unveiled the Foleo, one of the world's first smartphone companions. As hinted by a last-minute slip, the Foleo serves as a more powerful way of managing e-mail and work: a 10-inch LCD and a full QWERTY keyboard provide extra space for editing Microsoft Office documents or checking messages. Owners can regularly synchronize files back and forth to ensure that they stay current when the Foleo is left behind. New in the official release is the confirmation of Internet access. The Foleo can browse the web or check e-mail using a custom version of the Opera web browser and a mail client; the connection can be made using either a Bluetooth link to a phone with cellular Internet or through its own Wi-Fi. A USB port and an SD card slot provide room for peripherals and extra storage, while a headphone jack allows listening to media without plugging into the phone itself.
The Foleo additionally marks Palm's first Linux device and fully embraces the openness of the platform, Palm says. Though officially targeted at both PalmOS and Windows Mobile versions of the Treo, the notebook-like assistant can readily support other phones through a "modest software effort" -- including the iPhone, according to the company. While no discussions have been announced with Apple, Palm has said it will work to support "as many smartphones as possible" and is willing to include the iPhone in the list.
The accessibility also allows for relatively rapid development of third-party apps and extensions, Palm adds. A large-scale version of DataViz' Documents To Go is an example and will ship with the system to provide full Excel, PowerPoint, and Word editing.
As confirmed this morning, the new device should be available sometime during the summer at a price of $499 after a $100 discount.