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Palm puts Foleo on hold

Glaskowsky explains why Palm's cancellation of the first-generation Foleo platform is probably just as well.

Palm CEO Ed Colligan announced on the Palm corporate blog (here) that Palm has decided to cancel the impending release of its Foleo "mobile companion"-- a small, lightweight notebook computer running Palm's own software platform. The Foleo was expected to ship sometime soon, so development was probably almost complete.

It looks like Palm has taken down its Foleo pages-- all product pages and searches for "Foleo" on palm.com go to that blog announcement-- but there's some information on Wikipedia. There are some press releases for the Foleo on Palm's press site, including the original Foleo press release.

Perhaps the most useful page is on Palm's "social news media releases" site (here). It's worth taking a look because the Foleo was an interesting product concept. I just think it was premature.

The news is probably disappointing to people who set up independent Foleo websites, but actually I'm encouraged. The press releases from Palm show that there was little public support for the Foleo from independent software developers, even though the Foleo was based on Linux.

Palm is taking a $10 million charge for the Foleo cancellation, but I suspect it might have lost ten times as much if it had tried to ship and support the product. Instead, Palm will focus its resources on developing its next-generation software platform... which is what the Foleo concept really needs. That's what Colligan said, too:

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 figure it'll probably take a year or more before Foleo II could show up, and by that time Palm may be able to solve some of the problems with the original Foleo product. A lower price, smaller size, and longer battery life would all help a lot. Well, we'll see.