By Pete Mortensen
If we had any lingering doubts about Palm’s inability to compete with Nokia, Motorola and Apple, look no further than the Foleo, the big-deal product launch the former PDA market-leader unveiled at today’s D — All Things Digital conference.
No, go ahead. Look at it in the picture above. Can’t pick it out? It’s the generic-looking laptop next to the Treo. Yes, Jeff Hawkins, the company founder who once discovered the market opportunity for digital organizers in the early 1990s, has discovered the market opportunity for the laptop computer — only 16 years after the first PowerBooks hit the market. And it’s almost as capable as those machines were themselves!
You see, the Foleo isn’t a full computer — it’s crippled hardware that relies on owning a Palm Treo to connect to the Internet. Hawkins apparently took far too literally people saying they wanted a larger keyboard and a bigger display for their Treos and concluded that he could make an accessory that did just that. And the Ta-Da! turns into a Ta-Dull, as a co-worker of mine says.
This product is dead out of the water. It is decidedly uncapable, and it can only reach the market of Treo owners who don’t already own laptops. No one wants another laptop-sized device to put in their bag. They might want a replacement for their current laptop, but they don’t want to do it by giving up so much storage or capability.
I’m almost foaming. It’s a sad, deeply wrong-headed idea that Hawkins claims took five years to come to market. In that same five years, Apple built its iPod empire and moved on to phones, RIM emerged as a serious contender, and Windows Mobile caught and passed the Palm OS. It’s just sad.
5 Comments so far
Leave a comment