Friday, June 01, 2007

Palm Fold-eo

This guy looks way too happy with what he's holding. He's got himself a Treo (nice, even with the plethora of HTC and BlackBerry devices that are out there) and Palm's latest attempt to get rid of any amount of goodwill that people still have towards them. That's right, it's the Palm Foleo, which is "a whole new category" in the same sense that a steaming pile of tech manure is. "That looks like a laptop to me" is what I'm sure you're saying, and you'd be partially right. The Foleo is laptop sized, that's for sure. It's a bit smaller than my Dell XPS m1210, and that would be great if it was indeed a laptop. Instead it runs a version of Linux that was designed by PalmSource for really just one use: to sync with your Treo. That's right, apparently we need a whole device to do that. Why use your Bluetooth module to connect to a laptop or desktop and sync documents using MS Word when you can spend $500 on this piece of work.
Really this is a case of far too little too late. Palm has spent years squandering their once insurmountable lead over Microsoft in the mobile space. Palm OS 5 was really a bit of a disaster and hasn't been updated since 2003. Microsoft, on the other hand has come out with 2 new versions of Windows Mobile since then, both of which are far more capable than anything Palm ever put out. On top of that, they wasted their innovative dollars on this already obsolete product and the obsolete at the time LifeDrive. Forro mentioned to me when it came out that the LifeDrive would have been an innovative product if it wasn't so expensive and using a meager 4 GB hard drive. This was released when Apple was busy with 30 and 40 GB hard drives and 4 GB flash drives. Oh, did I mention that this particular piece of "innovation" was $400? It seems like they just got some surplus 4 GB notebook hard drives from 2001 and slapped their housing around it. As a result it was a total flop. Imagine if they used their smarts to create an iPhone before there was an iPhone. They could be untouchable right now - the LifeDrive's big screen, a thin form factor facilitated by the 1.8 inch 30 GB iPod hard drive or better yet by 4 GB of flash memory, even running the decrepit Garnet (Palm OS 5) would have been huge. Instead, I can see them littering the Silicon Valley highway 12 months from now along with the failed dot coms of yore.

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