Palm Reviving Foleo As Foundation For WebOS Netbook?

by on May 3rd, 2009

I’m psychic. I’ll prove it to you… lets play a game. I’ll throw you a question and you say the answer out loud before reading anything else. Ready?

QUESTION: If you could only make fun of Palm for one thing and HAD to make fun of Palm for one thing… what would it be?

If you haven’t said anything out loud and are still reading this, then you disobeyed. But I’m psychic so I know that you DID think of something but DIDN’T say it out loud. In any case, some of you thought of the time Palm CEO Ed Colligan said Apple would NEVER have success with the iPhone prior to the device launch:

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

Others would say the Palm Foleo, a product self-dubbed as revolutionary but one that never hit retail stores, was the most awful and insulting Palm misjudgement. But now, with all the talk of WebOS netbooks and Android netbooks and Netbooks of every shape, color and OS… the Palm Foleo doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, does it?


No, it doesn’t. The Palm Foleo was just a few years too early and so rumor has it that a few years later, Palm is planning on taking the Foleo foundation (at least conceptually), slapping WebOS on it and launching a Palm WebOS netbook. This rumor comes courtesy of Trip Chowdhry, an analyst for Global Equities Research, who included some information in a note to clients.

From Barron’s Tech Trader Daily:

he says they intend to produce a $399 netbook that will run the Palm Web OS that debuts soon on the eagerly awaiting Pre smartphone. Chowdhry says the device will use Qualcomm’s (QCOM) Gobi 3G wireless chip, ARM (ARMHY) chipsets and have 8-10 hours of battery life. He says the device is being designed by three ex-Apple (AAPL) iPod guys. He also says the netbook will only support browser-based applications, and not “native applications.”

Chowdhry contends the device will basically be a revised version of Palm’s ill-fated Foleo “mobile companion” device, which was unveiled to great expectations two years ago at the WSJ’s All Things D conference and then almost immediately fell flat on its face: Foleo was a Linux-based notebook-like device that relied on a Bluetooth connection to a Palm phone for Web access. The idea was that you would use the device mostly for e-mail, but it never caught on.

Designed by three ex-Apple iPod guys? Sounds sexy although with the Palm Pre and the Palm EOS as priorities, I don’t see Palm launching a WebOS Netbook in 2009. I’d bet against it but I would absolutely LOVE to lose that bet. Kind of like filling out a March Madness pool when you don’t have your alma mater winning it all, capish?

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