Palm's new gizmo is...
Jeff Hawkins unveils Palm's latest at D5.
- 5 hours of workable battery life, and the charger is cell phone-size, not a giant laptop brick.
- Weighs under 2.5 pounds, and is less than an inch thick.
- No touch pad -- uses a pointer like a Thinkpad.
- It runs Linux.
- All solid-state, of course, no hard disk.
Palm started towith a cryptic press announcement saying that Palm founder Jeff Hawkins would be introducing a "new category of mobile device" at the D5 conference, to be followed by a live videocast.
I'm at the conference, watching Hawkins on stage. The new product is "Foleo," an Internet interface appliance. It's got a full-size keyboard, and a nice screen. It's for accessing e-mail and the Web, and it's slim, light, and very nice-looking.
But it's missing something critical: network access. That's right, it's not that useful on its own. It requires a connection via another device, like the Treo that Palm hopes you're already carrying, or any other gizmo that can share its access via Bluetooth. Update: The Foleo does have integrated Wi-Fi, though Hawkins seems to be downplaying this feature for some reason.
The device, at about $500, is priced closely to low-end laptops. It's a lot smaller, of course, and it has Palm software so it will likely be more robust and useful on the fly than a laptop. Also, it synchronizes data to and from a smart phone. So it's a workable companion to people who live cellphone-centric lives. There are a lot of execs like that. The thing is, most of them already have laptops.
Stay tuned for more. Also, see TreoCentral for the early scoop.