Today, Palm cofounder Jeff Hawkins unveiled the company's latest project at the D5 conference in Carlsbad, Calif.: the <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/palm-foleo/4505-6452_7-32463348.html">Palm Foleo</a>. A companion product for <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/4566-6452_7-0.html">smart phones</a>, the Linux-based Foleo looks like an <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/4323-6527_7-6509056.html">ultraportable laptop</a> and is designed to let you more easily view and edit e-mail and office documents, among other things. Find out more about the device and get a closer look at the Foleo here.
The man behind the concept and development, Hawkins called the Foleo "the most exciting product I've ever worked on." Hawkins was also one of the brains behind the original Palm Pilot handheld.
The Palm Foleo turns on and off instantly and features one-touch access to e-mail. The Linux-based device also has Word, Excel, and PowerPoint editors, a PDF reader, an Opera Web browser, and integrated Wi-Fi for connectivity.
Calling smart phones the "most prevalent personal computers on the planet," Hawkins said the Foleo was for those times when you need a large screen and full-size keyboard, especially as smart phones get smaller.
Naturally, the Foleo will work with Palm's Treo smart phones (Palm and Windows models) but the company believes and hopes it will also play nicely with all devices in the future, including Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry, and Apple.
Judging by its looks, you'd think the Palm Foleo was just an ultraportable laptop or UMPC. However, Palm stressed that the Foleo's primary function is to be a mobile phone companion. It synchronizes with your smart phone via Bluetooth, and then you can use the Foleo's 10-inch screen and full keyboard to work on documents, e-mail, and surf the Web.
The Palm Foleo is supposed to be for productivity-minded business users who want that all-in-one solution for e-mail, office documents, and Web browsing, but we wonder if people will actually want to carry another device with them. The Foleo will start shipping this summer for $499, with an introductory $100 rebate.