A few months after being introduced, Palm has made the decision to kill its first generation Palm Foleo. The idea behind the Foleo was that it would connect wirelessly to your mobile device, thus allowing large screen viewing and typing as needed. Many analysts have derided the product as disappointing, though, and with a large amount of software related bug fixes threating to delay the launch of the Foleo, Palm CEO Ed Colligan has decided to cancel the entire project instead.
From the entry in The Official Palm Blog:
In the course of the past several months, it has become clear that the right path for Palm is to offer a single, consistent user experience around this new platform design and a single focus for our platform development efforts. To that end, and after careful deliberation, I have decided to cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all of our energies on delivering out next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market. We will, of course, continue to develop products in partnership with Microsoft on the Windows Mobile platform, but from our internal platform development perspective, we will focus on only one.
The cost of the decision to Palm will be significant, and includes a charge against earnings of “less than $10 million,” according to Palm. What stands out to me from this announcement, and which was also pointed out by Michael Mace, is that Palm has been working on multiple versions of Linux, one to run future Treos and one to power the Foleo. It would seem that this was the decision that doomed the Foleo. The Foleo was never economically feasable in the long-run. It was too much of a niche product to support the costs of maintaining multiple platforms.
It’s been a tough time lately for Palm fans as they have watched the company stop innovating and be passed by in the marketplace by their competitors. At one time, what differentiated Palm devices from handhelds which ran other operating systems, was their ease of use and form factor. They did everything they were designed to do simply and quickly. Hopefully, the cancellation of the Foleo will allow Palm to refocus its attention on building of a better platform for the Treo or maybe even building a new standalone handheld such as a next generation TX or T3.