Back in May, Palm announced it was developing a LInux-based, palmtop companion product for its smartphones called the Foleo. The basic idea was to provide the capabilities of a laptop computer—along with a big screen and QWERTY keyboard—that leveraged a Palm smartphone’s connectivity and application suite.
Today in a lengthy post on the company blog, Palm CEO Ed Colligan officially closed the book on the Foleo, announcing Palm was canceling development of the product in order to focus on its core smartphone business. "Foleo is based on second platform and a separate development environment, and we need to focus our efforts on one platform," Colligan wrote. "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. That would not be right for our customers or for our developer community."
Palm apparently still believes the market targeted by the Foleo product has "enormous potential," and promises to follow up on the Foleo effort with a Foleo II in the future. However, canceling the Foleo product will result in a $10 million hit to Palm’s bottom line.
Industry response to the Foleo ranged from polite disinterest to outright incredulity. At $499, the Foleo would have offered Palm users a QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a 10-inch LCD display for email and applications, but even as a palmtop the device could hardly be described as conveniently portable—especially since many core functions required a (separate) Palm smartphone.