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So This Is What Palm's Been Up To

After making vague promises of a brand-new device, Palm finally showed its hand Wednesday and unveiled something called the Foleo. It's a tiny laptop--under 3 pounds--running on a version of Linux and selling for $599. But it's not designed as a standalone device; instead, the idea is that you'd pair this up with a smartphone so you could access the phone's data and Internet connection on a bigger screen and with a real keyboard.

Palm has a lengthy animated presentation on its site; make sure you turn off your computer's speakers if you're at work. The PalmInfoCenter site, which has followed the company for years, has more details on the announcement in this posting.

Early reaction among the tech-industry commentariat was not kind: "Palm officially out of ideas, debuts 1990s palmtop concept"; "Stick A Fork In Palm."

I'm not so sure--partially because I thought the 1990s palmtop concept had some sense about it. You shouldn't necessarily need to haul around 5 or 6 pounds of laptop, at $1,000 and up, just to check your e-mail, browse the Web, view photos and listen to some music. So why not try building those capabilities into a smaller, lighter, cheaper device?

That could make real sense. I'm not so sure about the appeal of something marketed as a high-priced accessory to a Treo or a BlackBerry.

Does the Foleo interest you at all?

(A note to any readers who might want to flame me for being so harsh about Palm or encourage me to beat up on the company some more: I'm out of town from now through all of next week. Blog posts will continue--I've got a bunch of leftover items that I need to publish at some point--but I won't be able to answer any e-mails or comments here until after next week.)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 1, 2007; 9:24 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets  
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