Palm Foleo – Cancelled For Now

Palm Foleo Looks like Palm’s CEO, Ed Colligan, has pulled the plug on the Palm Foleo (at least for now, in its “current configuration”). This after criticisms from many sites (including SL), and even a public exchange of views with Engadget.

We (or at least I) was critical of the Palm Foleo for a few reasons:
– Hardware wise, the ASUS Eee PC and other similar devices offered much more computing power and flexibility for the same or cheaper price (in a smaller format).
– Software wise, the Foleo did not offer much – devices running some form of Windows Mobile were, in many instances, going to offer a lot more in the way of software.
– Connectivity wise, the Foleo relied on a Palm smartphone, which meant you had two gadgets – why not ditch both and pick up one of the Windows Mobile 6 Smartphones with a full keyboard?
– They claimed it didn’t want to be a laptop, but size wise it was creeping up there, with a 10″ display. You might as well spend twice as much and get a 12″ laptop with the same or better battery life and a heckuva lot more computing power, not to mention running a full version of Windows and not a stripped down Linux, along with a full array of expansion ports, memory, and storage.
– It wasn’t a UMPC, with the flexibility UMPCs offer.
– Going along with Engadget, it felt like Palm was neglecting it’s PDA/Smartphone platform, which, was supposed to work with the Palm Foleo. It didn’t make sense to develop another device to work with your existing devices, when your existing devices were in need of some serious attention.

Here is the email we received:

As many of you are aware, we are in the process of building our next generation software platform. We are very excited about how this is coming together. It has a modern, flexible UI, instant performance, and an incredibly simple and elegant development environment. We are working hard on this platform and on the first smartphones that will take advantage of it.

In the course of the past several months, it has become clear that the right path for Palm is to offer a single, consistent user experience around this new platform design and a single focus for our platform development efforts. To that end, and after careful deliberation, I have decided to cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all our energies on delivering our next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market. We will, of course, continue to deliver products in partnership with Microsoft on the Windows Mobile platform, but from our internal platform development perspective, we will focus on only one.

Because we were nearly at the point of shipping Foleo, this was a very tough decision. Yet I am convinced this is the right thing to do. Foleo is based on a second platform and a separate development environment, and we need to focus our efforts on one platform. 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.

Jeff Hawkins and I still believe that the market category defined by Foleo has enormous potential. When we do Foleo II it will be based on our new platform, and we think it will deliver on the promise of this new category. We’re not going to speculate now on timing for a next Foleo, we just know we need to get our core platform and smartphones done first.

I would like to thank our customers for their interest in Foleo. I know there will be disappointed folks who were looking forward to carrying a Foleo for all their mobile computing needs. I am certainly one of them. I would also like to thank the developers who have supported our Foleo efforts. They have been loyal to Palm and have worked hard to deliver some compelling solutions on the Foleo platform. I know that they will understand that the right thing to do for the long run is to focus on one platform that will live for years, rather than invest energy in a one-off solution. We will make every effort to make sure we bring our developers forward to our next generation platform.

This decision will require us to take a limited charge of less than $10 million dollars to our earnings. This is a lot of money, but it is a small price relative to the costs that would be required to support two platforms going forward. This decision is in the best interest of our customers, our team, our products and our shareholders. I hope this renewed focus at Palm will allow us to deliver more compelling solutions to our core smartphone market, and it will allow us to position ourselves for the long run around one Palm experience.

Ed Colligan

President & CEO
Palm, Inc.

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