InfoWorld: Palm Says the Foleo is on Target

A new InfoWorld article out today reads:

“As stated on May 30, U.S. availability for the Palm Foleo mobile companion will begin this summer. We will let you know if this changes,” said Jim Christensen, Palm’s director of communications.”

I’ve been reading InfoWorld magazine for years now and I’ve come to trust their reporting. In the “yes-it-is/no-it-isn’t” ping pong game that has been going on about the Foleo, I’m inclined to err on the side of optimism and place my bet on the Foleo shipping before October of this year. We’ll see if I’m right or not.

Read the full InfoWorld article

Rumor Mill: The Foleo is Still on Target

OK, there has been a lot of speculation this week about whether or not Palm is delaying the Foleo to work on software bugs and enhancements.

Today, Ryan Kairer over at PalmInfoCenter posted a short article indicating that,

“A Palm spokesperson has told PalmInfocenter that the company is still standing by its original timeframe originally announced back in May, saying “U.S. availability for the Palm Foleo mobile companion will begin this summer.”

So the question that every Foleo Fanatic has on his or her mind is: Is the Foleo delayed or not? I wish I knew, but I still have no idea which rumor is closer to the truth at this point. My only hope is that Palm pre-announces the release date a few days, maybe a week, in advance to I can plan to be at the New York Palm Store when it opens so I can get my hands on one with in the first 15 minutes of it being available.

Read PIC’s full article

Barron’s – Over Simplification

Ben Combee has been spotted on the message boards again. This time he is commenting on the #comments blog story regarding the recent Barron’s article (details) about the Foleo’s apparent delay.

Ben writes:

“I can’t talk much about when we’re launching yet, but I can say that the comments in Barron’s are a major simplification of what’s been happening this summer. We’re not stupid; we’ve been working on lots of complicated sync issues on lots of phones for the last year, including testing with a wide range of Treo devices. The issues haven’t been “it doesn’t sync”, but more like “after syncing large numbers of emails over a four day time period, the operation fails 25% of the time and cannot restart without resetting the device.” We’ve been doing lots of stress testing, and sometimes that finds problems that have been hidden for a while or problems that are really hard to debug because of the need to setup a reproducible case with instrumentation.”

OK, I’m feeling better about this. I think Ben goes out of his way to show that Palm is working long and hard to ensure that the Foleo launch goes smoothly and without any software issues.

Rumor Mill: Has the Foleo Been Delayed?

Tiernan Ray writes for Barron’s website today that Palm may have pushed back the release date of the Foleo to late September to early October. The Barron’s article cites Deutsche Bank’s Jonathan Goldberg who wrote, “In a round of checks yesterday we learned that the Palm Foleo will be delayed” in a briefing released today. Mr. Goldberg’s briefing continues:

“The product was supposed to hit Palm stores this week, but was delayed when software bugs were detected. These apparently included an inability to synchronize the Foleo with most models of the Treo, in particular the nominally high-volume Treo 680. Our contacts indicate Palm now expects the device will ship in late September/early October.”

This is surely some sad news for my fellow Foleo Fanatics who are waiting for this device to become available, however, I would rather seem Palm work out all the kinks before the device ships. If that means that software on the Foleo or the various Treo smartphones needs to be fixed, I would rather Palm fix it and have a solid launch than ship a product that isn’t complete.

Read Barron’s Tech Trader Daily article

[Thanks to everyone who emailed me about this report.]

1SRC Editorial: Big Blue Inside

I’ve posted this week’s 1SRC Editorial which deals with the recent reports that IBM is looking at possibly purchasing Wind River Systems, the embedded Linux operating system company.

“Palm recently announced a partnership with Wind River Systems to provide the underlying open standards Linux operating system for future Foleo Mobile Companion products. Over the weekend, PC World Magazine ran an article on their website about a possible acquisition of Wind River by IBM.

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Palm is a company that has a lot of balls in the air. The Elevation Partners recapitalization deal still needs to be approved and potentially executed with a backdrop of an already jittery financial marketplace. Palm is also gearing up for a number of new product roll outs including the Foleo Mobile Companion sometime in the next few weeks; the release of the new form factor Centro smartphone, and last, but not least, the launch of a new Linux-based version of Palm OS, which I’ve dubbed “Palm OS II” until Palm officially names the new operating system in advance of its introduction during the 2008 calendar year.

As if this wasn’t enough to keep a medium-sized technology company occupied, the possibility of having a new business partner acquired, I’m sure, has a few people at Palm interested in the latest M&A (mergers and acquisitions) newspaper headlines. The last operating system provider that Palm was working with, ACCESS/PalmSource, ran into trouble. So what is to prevent such a thing from happening again?

Enter IBM.”

Keep reading

Wind River Systems to be Acquired by IBM?

Over this past weekend, PC World ran an article on their website about the possible acquisition of Wind River Systems by IBM. Wind River as you might recall was recently selected by Palm to provide an open standards based Linux OS for future Foleo products. (Details here.)

“IBM Corp. could establish a strong presence in the market for embedded operating systems with the acquisition of financially ailing Wind River Systems Inc., a deal that is reportedly in the works.

After the Silicon Valley Watcher site reported earlier this week that IBM was considering the deal, industry insiders — including Wind River competitors — agreed that an acquisition would make sense.

Wind River, a 1,300-person company in Alameda, California, develops operating systems for embedded applications primarily in the aerospace, defense and automotive industries, using both a version of Linux and its proprietary VxWorks OS.”

Read the full PC World article

Editorial: The Foleo Needs eReader

I know that the Foleo isn’t even available yet, however, I can’t stop thinking about all of the things that I would like to do with it. There already has been a lot of debate about what should be included in the Foleo (read: YouTube for the younger crowd), but I wanted to keep the focus on more narrowly focused applications that can be added for or shortly after launch.

One of the things that I enjoy using my Treo for is reading ebooks. When I carried two devices, the Tungsten T3 and a Treo 600, all of the ebook reading was done on the T3 due to the fact that the screen was physically larger and had a higher screen resolution (320×480 on the T3 vs. 160×160 on the Treo 600). Moving to the Treo 700p with a screen resolution of 320×320 helped, but I always found that reading books and manuals on the computer better suited for a larger screen. (I no longer carry the Tungsten.)

Enter the Foleo with its 10-inch 1024×600 resolution screen. The Foleo will ship with DataViz Documents To Go and a Palm developed Acrobat PDF viewer installed. These two packages will allow you to read Microsoft Word (and presumably text and rich-text formatted files) and Adobe PDF files. This address part of the problem if the ebook you are trying to read is in one of the support file formats and isn’t encrypted, but does not completely solves the problem.

For a long time now, Palm has been including the eReader Palm OS ebook reader (also called eReader) on the bundled Palm handheld and Treo bonus CDs for years now. And as such, I’ve amassed a large collection of ebooks encrypted in the eReader file format. In addition to the Palm OS application, eReader has also made Windows Mobile/Pocket PC, Mac OS X, and Windows versions of their reader application available for download. Customers are free to buy an encrypted ebook and view it on multiple devices as long as the free reader for your specific platform was installed.

I was rather surprised to see eReader missing from the list of partners who will be releasing software for the Foleo on launch day. I would really like to see eReader get behind the Foleo and offer their customers the option of reading purchased ebooks on another platform as I feel that the larger screen and higher resolution will only enhance the enjoyment of being able to read an ebook while traveling with the Foleo. As I see it, the Foleo has the potential to offer eReader customers a larger view of the “page” along with adjustable font sizes. The longest running and often sited complain I’ve heard from corporate users, the Foleo’s target market, is that the screens of mobile devices are just too small. Here is an opportunity to capitalize on that complaint.

What do you think about the Foleo as an ebook reader? Leave your comments in the discussion thread.

PCWorld Hands on with the Foleo

PCWorld has published a review of the Foleo from this week’s LinuxWorld conference.

“The Foleo is the first Linux-based item from Palm, and touts an easy one-button e-mail sync over Bluetooth with Treo smarthones (both Palm OS and Windows Mobile versions). It has a 416Mhz processor, 256MB of flash memory and 128MB of ram, but no hard drive. The 10.2 inch screen has a 1024×600 resolution, and it has 802.11b and Bluetooth 1.2 wireless capabilities.

There’s a single USB port, along with slots that can accept SD or compact flash memory cards (Palm says they’ve tested cards up to 4GB). And you can connect the Foleo to an external display, which will use a 1024×768 resolution.

As the Palm guys at the conference put it, the Foleo is meant to be “what happens when a PDA grows up,” rather than a shrunk-down laptop. The applications are similar in look and feel to what you’d use on a smartphone, but are of course easier to use with the larger screen and full-size keyboard.”

Read the full PCWorld article

Foleo Specs

As part of yesterday’s 1SRC podcast, I talked about Brighthand’s Editor-in-Chief Ed Hardy’s article, Palm Releases New Information on the Foleo. In the article, Ed talks about some of the Foleo product specifications that have come to light during this week’s LinuxWorld conference. Since the Foleo still isn’t shipping yet, some of the details are still not available.

Here is what we know.

Processor: 416MHz Intel PXA27x

RAM: 256MB of non-volatile memory, about 128MB will be available for data and applications

Graphics Processor: Marathon 2700G graphics accelerator

Compact Flash (CF) maxing out at 2GB;
Secure Digital (SD) maxing out at 2GB;
Support for FAT16 and FAT32 formatted USB Flash drives

Networking: 802.11b Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v1.2

I will post more Foleo product specs as they become available.

Read the full Brighthand article…

Foleo Update on the 1SRC Podcast

On this week’s 1SRC Podcast, show 141, I cover all of the latest Palm Foleo news coming out of LinuxWorld.

1SRC Podcast 141 Show Notes:

  • reports that the Foleo will ship in September. Are they correct?
  • Palm partners with Wind River Systems for future Linux development on the Foleo.
  • Palm also announces a LogMeIn client for the Foleo will become available.
  • Brighthand’s Ed Hardy has details on production Foleo specs.
  • PalmAddicts has posted an notice about the new beta for the Treo.
  • 1SRC Editorial: The Evolving Treo.

Listen to 1SRC Podcast 141