Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Foleo: when open source is not enough

Palm announced the Foleo mobile companion today. Jeff Hawkins was forced (I believe, he is a myth for me) to present it and say it is "the most exciting device he's worked on" (probably since this morning, but tomorrow will be a different day).

Bottom line: yawn... I am not impressed. Jeff must not be impressed himself, since he just sold 15,000 shares of Palm stock ;-)

Ahh, what about the device? It is a sub-notebook with wi-fi and bluetooth (and a keyboard). It has two buttons, one for on/off and the other one to pair with your smartphone, to sync your email.

It is a 600 bucks mobile companion to your 300 bucks smartphone... It weights a heavy 2.5 pounds... It has only 256MB of memory... It runs just for 5 hours (hem, my smartphone runs longer...), and it will drain the battery of your smartphone too via Bluetooth :-)

Any good news? YES! It is Linux. It is mobile open source!!

Does it matter? NO. It is still a useless device that nobody will carry around.

I do not even know where to start, but if the iPhone is going to be a niche and the Nokia 800 is looking for a segment, this is a niche of a niche with no segment. Too expensive, too limited in features, too big (I would need to buy bigger pants to fit it in...).

I cannot believe this is the way out for Palm. I wrote many times that Palm needed open source, but - apparently - it won't be enough.

Hey, I could be wrong. After all, the device is all about synchronization (I am the #1 believer in it). Maybe an enormous community will jump on the Foleo and will make it great. And Palm will make it cheaper, faster, smaller, with more memory and battery life. Or maybe by that time Palm will be called something else...