Palm, Inc. has announced the Palm Foleo, its first smartphone companion product. The Foleo mobile companion has a large screen and full-size keyboard with which to view and edit e-mail 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. Palm sees this combination as being ideal for business people who want a more complete mobile solution for email, attachments and access to the web.
The Foleo mobile companion turns on and off instantly and features fast navigation, a compact design, and a battery that promises up to 5 hours of use. Its applications include email, full-screen web browser, and editors or viewers for common business documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. Palm include the Opera browser and Dataviz suite of office tools for these tasks.
The Foleo stays synchronized via Bluetooth wireless technology and uses the smartphone’s radio or the Foleo’s built-in Wi-Fi radio for general Internet connectivity.
Foleo mobile companions work with Palm’s Treo smartphone in both its Palm OS and Windows Mobile versions. But Palm says most smartphones based on Windows Mobile should work with little or no modification. Smartphones based on operating systems from Research in Motion, Apple, and Symbian likely can be supported with a modest software effort. The Foleo’s synchronization architecture is open, and Palm expects to work with third-party developers to support as many smartphones as possible.
Although designed primarily as a companion to a mobile phone, Foleo is a computer on its own, running a Linux-based operating system and built-in Wi-Fi radio. Developers can create new applications that can be installed with a single click in the browser. The Foleo has a USB port, video-out port, headphone jack, and slots for SD and compact flash cards for memory expansion. This combination of capabilities in a low-cost design is new in the industry.
This new device comes with a generous 10-inch screen, full-size keyboard and wieghs in only 1.1 Kg (2.5 pounds).
U.S. availability for the Palm Foleo mobile companion will begin this summer. The price of the Foleo mobile companion is expected to be US$499 after an introductory US$100 rebate.