Thursday, June 7, 2007

Foleo-from Palm

In a rather interesting move, Palm recently announced a new product called the Foleo. To the unassuming eye it looks very much like an ultra-light portable laptop computer. However, as described on the Palm website it is meant to complement their line of Treo Smartphones. You can think of it like having a sidecar attached to your motorcycle to carry that extra person. In this case, the Foleo allows you view all of your contacts, email, and the web favorites on a large10 inch screen that you have stored on your Treo Smartphone. With a push of the button on your Treo Smartphone you effortlessly transfer all of the information so that you can work on a larger screen with a full size keyboard. It will be interesting to see how the market responds to this new class of products since everyone seems to be going towards small multifunction phones. Palm added that is looking into users being able to use the Foleo with other Smartphones that are coming down the pike like the iPhone. The Foleo is based on the Linux platform and will include Documents to Go which will allow you to work with the native file formats for Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Likewise, you can access your email using Versamail or Outlook Mobile.

The Foleo is powerful enough to be able to handle attachments as well as being able to open and preview PDF’s. The Foleo can also store and open pictures that are formatted in png, jpg, or gif files. The Foleo has built in Wi-Fi and can access the Internet via Wi-Fi hotspots. If you are unable to find a hot sport you can use your Bluetooth enable Smartphone to access the Internet. The Foleo is certainly and interesting device which is slated to be released at an introductory price of $499. While it is billed as a Smartphone companion, some may see it as an alternative to a laptop computer or for that matter a portable note-taker. For all of us in the field of assistive technology this could prove to be a very useful light weight tool for word processing, note taking, and accessing the web. Time will tell how well this device will accepted in the marketplace, but from where I sit it could be the tool that fits between the portable notetaker and a full fledged laptop. Considering its functionality and power and access to the web this tool may find the sweet spot for schools to purchase.

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