While the folks in Carlsbad were pondering all things digital, the world of Treo was getting a heavy dose of all things Foleo.
We're trying to lighten the load for people," says Palm Chief Executive Ed Colligan. "Treos break down when you try to do robust computing with that small screen and keyboard. We're not trying to replace the laptop, but in a lot of situations you will now ditch it."
Per Palms press release, the Palm Foleo, a smartphone companion product, is for productivity-minded business people who want a more complete mobile solution for email, attachments and access to the Web. In brief, the Foleo mobile companion 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. Foleo and its paired smartphone stay synchronized throughout the day or at the touch of a button.
Its clear from the various write-ups that have appeared so far, that Jeff Hawkins, the founder of Palm, Inc. and the visionary behind the Foleo's concept and definition, thinks he has another winner on his hands:
We've made three 'category defining products.' This is the biggest one of all," said Hawkins.
"A lot of people thought the Pilot was a stupid idea."
TreoCentral has been FoleoCentral this week. Along with a detailed account of what the Foleos all about, including a hands-on/first impression video, there are two interesting interviews:
Jeff Hawkins, off camera.
Brodie Keast, Palms VP of Marketing, on camera.
After reading the initial reactions to the Foleo, I was reminded of something Frank Capra said about a meeting he had with studio boss, Harry Cohn:
In the general run of humanity, people either give you a lift, or depress you; bore you, or, as with most, leave you indifferent
Not with Harry Cohn.
Not to compare Jeff Hawkins with Harry Cohn
its just that with his track record, you get a sense that the best is yet to come with the Palm Foleo.
So without further ado, Lets Talk Treo (and Foleo)!
Needless to say, the focus this shortened work week was on the Palm Foleo. Palm has a special section of their Website thats all about the Foleo.
As for other press releases issued, they were Foleo partner announcements:
DataViz Optimizes Documents To Go for Palm Foleo Mobile Companion
Documents To Go allows users to create, view and edit native Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint compatible files on a Palm Foleo mobile companion. In addition to retaining all original file formatting, Documents To Go works with the built-in Foleo email application to access a wide variety of attachments, from sales contracts to sports schedules.
Opera Browser Featured in the New Palm Foleo Mobile Companion
Taking Over the World
Not this Week
It was another quiet week for Palm with no global expansion press releases issued.
More Thoughts on the Palm Foleo
Heres a rundown of some of the comments that have been posted about the Foleo.
A post by Owen Thomas states:
The good news is that the Foleo is so obviously lacking in so many ways that it will spur the likes of Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Sony to come out with cheap, light subnotebooks that play well with smartphones.
The bad news is that this is the likely end of Palm as an independent company. Facing a quickly dying organizer market, increasing competition in the smartphone business, and a "third product" that's an obvious nonstarter, Palm will soon have no choice but to sell to the likes of Motorola or Nokia. It's a shame. But with Palm having so clearly lost its way, it seems an inevitability, too.
A story posted on CNETs news.com, had some interesting quotes:
Hawkins said Palm will initially target heavy users of wireless e-mail who are looking for a portable device to ease the burden of relying on a smart phone as a primary computing device. It's hard to work with documents inside the small window afforded by a smart phone, and almost impossible to read e-mail at a quick glance without a lot of scrolling. That's why most smart-phone users still need to bring their laptops along on business trips--because any serious typing can't be done on a Treo, BlackBerry or a Motorola Q.
"I think it's probably the most disappointing product I've seen in several years," said Todd Kort, an analyst with Gartner. "To think that anyone would carry something with a 10-inch display at 2.5 pounds as an adjunct to a phone just doesn't make any sense to me."
Wilson Rothaman wrote:
Sounds suspiciously like a laptop, yes, but according to its maker, it sure is not. Its raison d'etre is, quite specifically, mobile email. It supports VersaMail right out of the box on Palm OS, including Pop and IMAP accounts, and it supports Pocket Outlook for Windows Mobile phones. Everything relating to your email (including attachments and changes made to those attachments) is synced between the smartphone and the Foleo. Palm is interested in welcoming others to the Foleo foldthe likes of RIM, Apple and Nokiaand says support for any of their platforms would be easy to implement.
Pretty clear message to me. So here's the real deal: If you love your Treo or Windows Mobile phone, but wish you could just rat-tat-tat out your damn emails on a keyboard more often than not, it's for you. If you don't carry a smartphone, this is a pass. But does that mean it sucks? (Seriously, I'm really asking.)
BTW. Gizmodo has posted a tiny video with Jeff Hawkins demoing the unit.
JupiterResearch Analyst Blogs
Michael Gartenberg states:
The concept actually maps well to research we've done in terms of number of devices consumers will carry as well as how they carry them. We've spent a lot of time understanding what users carry, how many devices they will carry and what features they are looking for in a mobile device. I can't produce all the research here but to sum up, context is the killer app for mobility and if Foleo enables contextual computing based on my needs at any given time when I'm out and about it has a chance of success. The key will be how well Palm can differentiate the device to other things in this space and the usage model relative to a laptop (given the size, this is not a device you're going to carry with your laptop at the same time).
The New York Times
The headline of John Markoffs story says a lot: Palm to Sell Device That Wont Fit in the Palm. He referred to the Foleo as the 2.5-pound appliance.
His article noted that the Foleo may get a following of Linux enthusiasts. He quotes Tim Bajarin, an industry analyst at Creative Strategies, who said, This could become the first commercially viable portable Linux system.
Jamie Lendino has written a column titled Foleo Follies. In his closing remarks, he wrote:
If it works as advertised, the Foleo will certainly make things easier for anyone who doesn't mind carrying around two pieces. And it will ensure that your smartphone can serve as a laptop replacement. But I can't see how this particular combination of dimensions, bulk, features, and requirements will succeed where many others have failed.
Carlo Longino remarked:
"The unspoken marketing message here is that users need to shell out for the Foleo on top of a Treo because the smartphone doesn't deliver an acceptable user experience for mobile e-mail. Palm would be far better off improving its outdated smartphones, instead of focusing on creating new (and pointless) product lines, but it's really beginning to look like that's asking too much of the company."
Andrew at Treonauts wrote:
I have to admit that I been quite shocked by Palms release of the Foleo yesterday a product whose target audience and ultimate purpose I currently completely fail to understand and which has left me and most Treonauts totally underwhelmed.
Having said this, I can see how I might just be too thick to get it quickly and will therefore wait a few more days for it all to sink in before deciding to shred Foleo to bits or not
Commentary: I Think I Get the Foleo
I figured it was time to put in my two cents. AL
Ill admit that when I first glimpsed at (and read about) the Palm Foleo, I joined the throngs of the underwhelmed. That was before I started organizing myself for a quick trip to Orange County this weekend.
Whenever I travel, I take my Treo and I dust off my trusty Acer TravelMate C110.
This convertible TabletPC is something I bought 3 years ago, before I had shoulder surgery. I liked how I could use it with either hand to draw or type. And since I was to be in a sling for 6 weeks, I figured I needed something with a lots of flexibility.
It weighs just 3.3 lbs., has a 10.1-inch screen and fits nicely on an airline tray table (humm
sound familiar?). I travel with it because I know I will need to respond to emails, research things on the Web and use the Microsoft Office suite. These are things that can be done on the Treo, but can be done more speedily when theres a full-size keyboard to play with. I think I spent just under $2K for the TravelMate. And you know what? It collects dust between trips as I use my PowerBook G4 as my primary workstation.
My name is Annie and I get the Palm Foleo.
First, the price is right ($499 after rebate). It weighs slightly less and has a battery that will last two hours longer. The instant-on is a dunk! It takes my Acer, which runs a version of Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, a long time to boot and I have to push a button to get WiFi to engage.
>>>Think about it. JetBlue is pondering making it possible for
doing in-flight text messaging. What if you could do in-flight email? A 5-hour battery could take you Coast-to-Coast if youve got the jet stream at your back. <<<
Why this makes sense for Palm:
An audience that Palm has been trying to crack has been Corporate America. That was very clear when the first Windows Mobile-based Treos arrived. A lot of companies have standardized on BlackBerry devices. But for others the compelling argument for a Windows-based device that connected everything to everythingwas something to seriously consider. Along comes the Foleo, and in my mind, I see corporate IT managers and network administrators beaming with joy. Why? Because if what Jeff Hawkins says is true, the Foleo will be easy to support and maintain because of its simplicity. For example, a company can stock 4 of these for the price of one notebook, and make them readily available for employees to check out or borrow for a trip. The IT manager is sweating having a $500 asset in the field, rather than a $2K one. If it gets stolen, whats the ripple effect? Laptops hold data sensitive data. Chances are, you wont be carrying around that kind of stuff on a Foleo.
Yes, Jeff Hawkins is onto something. This is definitely a story thats to be continued.
Speaking of continued, lets get back to my regularly scheduled column.
More Thoughts on the Treo 755p
Before Wednesdays big announcement, folks were still weighing in about the Treo 755p.
In his column, Mark Baard remarked:
The new Palm Treo 755p (about $280 from Sprint, with a two-year service contract included) will overwhelm you with options.
It is gorgeous and thinner, though, and its backlit QWERTY keyboard is easy enough to get around.
He also seemed quite please with the 755ps well-placed function keys that instantly launch you into e-mail, your datebook, or phone mode, and the switch on the top that lets you instantly snap the telephone into vibrate mode.
The technology under the hood is showing its age, but a slimmer design and other enhancements make this the best smart phone for the price in Sprint's lineup.
Those hoping for a breakthrough in design or software should look elsewhere or wait to see what Palm has coming next. However, the Treo 755p offers a lot of functionality without a steep learning curve and it's a little less bulky than previous models. We prefer the sleeker BlackBerry Curve, but this is our top smart phone pick for Sprint customers.
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Review: SplashNotes for Palm OS - By Jay Gross
Ready to get organized? Check out what Jay said about SplashNotes:
SplashData makes quite a splash in your Treo with SplashNotes. More of an outline program than a notepad, its an automated note taker and information organizer par excellence. The program offers a wide variety of ways to get the information out of the Treo and into something else, like Microsofts ubiquitous Word.
The program is easy to learn a good thing considering the dearth of help and Treo-bound documentation and its very simple to use. It handily lends a hand when elements have to be reordered, moved from place to place, inserted, or deleted.
In this episode, the hosts focus on, what was at the time, Palms mystery product as well as other new bits. The TreoGuide includes tips on how to apply a screen protector and how to turn your Treo into a library.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Review: Windows Mobile 6 vs. BlackBerry
While this may be a bit on the techie side (after all, it was written in a section called Geeks in Paradise), it says a lot about the head-to-head battle between Windows Mobile 6 devices and the Blackberry:
So while I'm still not sure I'd concede to eBay'ing my Blackberry yet, the update to Windows Mobile 6 is actually making me consider never going back.
Review: Smartphone Experts SidePouch
Andrew over at Treonauts, checked out the new Smartphone Experts SidePouch which is made of a very thick, high-quality, genuine leather.
Overall, there is no doubt that the SidePouch offers superior leather, a very good design as well as great value but for me its thickness, smaller belt clip, tight fit and smaller magnetic flap mean that I still very much consider the P6 Pouch Case to be the better option. Having said this, if youre looking for a side case in a colour other than black then this SidePouch will make an excellent choice.
Also, Andrew has also just published Treo Case Guide thats a worthwhile read.
Review: Plantronics Explorer 330 Bluetooth Headset
Tong Zhang, Senior Editor, wrote:
The Plantronics Explorer 330 wins in voice quality, ease of use and long battery life. The affordable price makes it easy to get a hands-free solution for your phone. The audio technology is superb and the headset has smooth and elegant style.
Review: Prima Leather Flip Case for the Treo 680 & 750
Sion Phillips remarked:
Generally, I'm an easy to please guy (that's just the way I am). As long as an item does what I expect I'm happy. Unfortunately, I have little confidence in this case protecting my Treo after my experience with the belt clip breaking.
If I was in the market for a leather flip case for my Treo, I'd pay a bit more and get the Piel Frama case I recently reviewed. It had no problems with the belt clip, had a removable button on the back of the case, and provides storage for SD and business cards.
The Prima case costs $39.95, and the Piel Frama flip case is $67.95. In my mind, paying more for the additional security and features is the way to go.
News: AskMeNow Deal
AskMeNow, a company that provides an easy and convenient way to access information on the Internet or from local content from your cell phone or mobile PDA device, just announced a preliminary agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation to introduce a natural language desktop search and mobile search of Wikipedia, the vast online encyclopedia of knowledge. Pending the completion of a successful desktop Beta, AskMeNow and the Wikimedia Foundation will also launch a free Mobile Wikipedia service allowing users to ask queries and get answers directly from their cell phones.
News: StyleTap Releases Update
StyleTap, a leading innovator in software platforms for PDAs and smartphones, has released an update of its software that runs Palm OS applications on Windows MobilePocket PCs and smartphones. Version 1.1 of StyleTap Platform for Windows Mobile now supports the barcode scanner hardware integrated into the leading industrial handheld devices from Intermec and Motorola.
Commentary: Smartphones Get Smarter
In his column, Mike Wendland talked about the evolving features of smartphones, and he compared the Treo 750 with the BlackBerry 8830 and Samsung UpStage.
Endnotes & Ponderables:
This week, The Wall Street Journal ran a story on Page One about playing music on a cell phone. And the playing refers to the music being created by a 27-year-old contemporary classical musician using a cell phone. According to the story, when Bora Yoon isnt playing a mean electric violin or a glockenspiel, she's jamming on her cell phone:
Ms. Yoon has incorporated the phone into her solo act, using it alongside her voice and other instruments. She has also collaborated with musicians including Suphala, a tabla player and protégé of Indian legend Zakir Hussain, and DJ Spooky, an avant-garde hip-hop artist and producer. She is picky about her instruments, so not just any phone will do. She insists on playing one particular Samsung model, a 2004 E-105, which she says has a special "pong" tone reminiscent of the "ambient" sound pioneered by British musician and record producer Brian Eno.
I wonder if shed be willing to give the Treo a tryout?
Heres something light and not Treo-related to close out this weeks column.
A Singapore beverage company has developed a drink that for those who respond with a non-committal "anything" or "whatever" when asked what they want to drink.
They have released two complementary brands: Anything and Whatever.
The catch? Though there are a variety of flavors for both beverages (Anything --Cola with Lemon, Apple, Fizz Up, Cloudy Lemon and Root Beer; Whatever -- Jasmine Green Tea, White Grape Tea, Apple Tea, Chrysanthemum Tea), consumers don't know which flavor they're getting until they take a sip. And the word that crosses my mind is: Random!
Thats a wrap!