SAN JOSE, Calif. Palm Inc. launched today the Foleo, an ultra thin and light notebook-like companion for a smart phone. The device aims to bring the advantage of a laptop's big screen, full keyboard and media capabilities to users squinting over email on a smart phone, but the concept is already being greeted by mixed reviews.
The two-pound Foleo includes a 10.2-inch LCD and links to a Palm OS or Windows Mobile smart phone via Bluetooth. It has an instant-on capability and a single button for synchronizing email from the phone to the Foleo.
The Linux-based Foleo will get up to five hours of battery life on a charge and will initially sell for $499.
Palm and the Foleo's chief designer, Palm founder Jeff Hawkins, billed the device as a new category of mobile device. But initial reactions from potential users to a leaked copy of the press release were mixed at best.
One site that posted the leaked press release had comments that ranged from excitement to confusion. Several posts expressed enthusiasm for a companion device that might be lighter and smaller than a notebook to help burrow into email and Web chores. Others were left scratching their heads.
"Are they now trying to sell me a PDA for a PDA? What are they smoking?" asked one commenter.
"If it's not pocketable, I don't want it," said another.
"I'm sure Hawkins is much smarter than me but I just don't get the appeal of this device," said a third.