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Palm's Awakening: Company Cancels Foleo Launch

What many (including me) had rather negatively called “Palm’s Folly” - a reference to the development and forthcoming launch of the company’s Foleo – may now instead turn out to be the start of something entirely new and much more promising that I’ll simply call “Palm’s Awakening”.

Foleo End

In a move that has taken everybody by surprise, Palm CEO Ed Colligan yesterday announced in a Message to Palm Customers, Partners and Developers that he had decided to “cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all of our energies on delivering our next generation software platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market”.

This is exactly the sort of strong, brave and pragmatic decision that Treonauts have been clamoring to see from Palm – one which would appear to hint that the company is finally listening more closely to the feedback of its customer base and responding decisively when issues emerge even if this means taking the painful decision to cancel a new product just weeks before its launch.  I can only congratulate Ed Colligan for this tough move.

As I suggested in my Where Is The Love Gone post two weeks ago, Palm now appears to have understood the need to “Fail faster to succeed sooner” and although the move will cost the company some $10 million it is clearly a small amount to pay to ensure that the considerably more important next generation software platform and Treo smartphones that will take advantage of it now receive _all_ of the company’s attention and resources.

Some people will argue that Palm should never have come out with the Foleo in the first place or that it should have cancelled the launch much sooner but I don’t believe that this is relevant now.  As they say “If you’ve never failed then you’ve never done anything” and what’s important is that Palm has actually taken action by admitting and correcting its mistake.

New Treo Beginning

Although a Foleo II may yet see the light someday in the future, Palm’s promise now is that our long awaited next generation Treo smartphone and its new operating system will rise from the Foleo ashes thanks to the renewed focus and energy that it will dedicate to their development – one that will hopefully deliver the compelling and innovative solutions that will make us proud Treonauts again.

Treonauts are always wide awake


Posted by Andrew on September 5, 2007 at 09:51 AM

Foleo

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Comments

1
by Morely | Sep 5, 2007 11:08:06 AM

This is a big step in the right direction. And I'm glad Palm is being more open about their strategies too. They've restored a bit of faith...I'm willing to wait and see what they've got planned.

2
by Stefan | Sep 5, 2007 12:46:40 PM

I have to admit, I was rather shocked to learn that, however the Foleo OS is Linux based, it's another OS then the OS that will be used for the next generation Palm OS.
Both device types (Foleo and nextgen Treo's) should share the same OS. This is good to get quick support (hotfixes), and the application availability (DataViz DocToGo, Agendus, etc.). The third party software developers can come quicker to the market.

I expect that the "new" Foleo, while have exactly the same hardware (maybe more memory), but a new PalmOS II...

3
by NowVoyager | Sep 5, 2007 12:54:39 PM

I am EXCITED at this news! I was hoping against hope that Palm "suits" would see these threads and understand that many of us were about to withdraw our business. Palm has been the leader in it's space. It's time to reclaim that position with a cutting edge Treo that sets this industry on it's ear.

Kudos to you, Ed Colligan for stepping up and making the necessary adjustments. You won't regret this move. Now, get those lil Treo elves cranking so that we can have joy in our Christmas stockings!

4
by Rephstar | Sep 5, 2007 1:26:34 PM

Great... I can't wait to see what they come up with...

5
by Andre' Nel | Sep 5, 2007 2:37:39 PM

Have you seen the Nokia E90? I have been a long time user of Palm products starting with the Palm III but I think my next PDA/Phone is going to be the E90.

6
by John Whorfin | Sep 5, 2007 2:57:55 PM

Meanwhile, in an incredibly bold and unusually aggressive move, Apple cut the price of their 8GB iPhone from $599 to $399 in advance of the holiday shopping season -- and on the heels of announcing that they've already sold over a million iPhones since launch, making it the best-selling smartphone on the market right now.

7
by Sally | Sep 5, 2007 4:36:17 PM

Great news--I've been reluctantly thinking about replacing my Treo 650 but nothing out there was quite in the same category--certainly not the Foleo!!! So will wait patiently for the Palm elves to work their magic!

8
by Greg Swallow | Sep 5, 2007 5:56:11 PM

Now this is a step in the right direction. When all I really need is a way to hook a keyboard and monitor to my Treo. A seperate Windows computer and PDA Reach is too much. But, having to carry a Foleo to work with data (et al) on/from my Treo is not at all what I'm looking for. Still having to have a 2.5GHz Windows box sit next to my Dual G5 PowerMac just to use as a keyboard and monitor to my phone seems a bit redundant. All-in-all it's better than receiving your iPhone bill in a box; see the above URL.

9
by mediabw | Sep 5, 2007 6:35:22 PM

Even though Palm and Apple, seem to be in different consumer markets, it is, in the end, still about the battle for the consumer's dollar.

that being said, Palm has a LOT of ground, IMHO, to recover,...
the Apple Machine, continues to churn out products, in multiple variations, even today.
it almost seems actually quite scary, how able and capable they are, in doing so...

( how about that Ipod Touch?!? the Iphone without the phone part... that's what I wished Palm would have come out with! )

10
by NowVoyager | Sep 6, 2007 12:13:39 PM

iPhone? It's a very pretty money guzzler. They cut their prices because the battery is atrocious and when it breaks down, you have to send the phone in for battery replacement at $85 a pop! Google it regarding the class action lawsuit. Ask around regarding that phone bill that the users received... whew *nellie*!!!

So, all that Palm has to do to capitalize on this apple faux pas is to innovate! Build a better mouse trap. Stop all presses until it's done. Seems like that's what Palm is doing.

Clue to Palm: Take your last best Treo and top that (Wi-fi; New stable, faster OS, Business swiss knife- in a Blackberry sort of way; Then make it so sleek and sexy to the point that if it's on the table, no one else wants to pull their phone out, LOL) - voila! Market share!!!

11
by earleadopter | Sep 6, 2007 8:20:41 PM

wha? Brave move? That is hilarious! Although I would stop short of saying Palm is finished, clearly Apple now dominates the market esp in terms of mindshare. Thankdog it isn't Windoze Mobile at least. The only thing that has kept me from getting an iPhone is my contract with Sprint. I predict great things for Apple if they can avoid 5yr exclusive deals in future. Palm has exactly that long to come up with a compelling product, or be relegated to some kind of supercheap commodity market. The Foleo should never have been announced unless it was to come in at a sub $200 pricepoint. It will not go anywhere at over $500, not ever. Cancelling it was hardly brave, only sane. For years Palm has been promising The Next Big Thing without results. Palm=vaporware. Palm, please: don't even say it anymore. Just put up or shut up.

12
by John Whorfin | Sep 7, 2007 10:19:22 AM

Re: 10. NOWVOYAGER:

Um, the iPhone _was_ a money guzzler at $599. Now it's $399 - the same as an unlocked Treo 680 (and cheaper than a 750), only it's far more powerful and offers more and better features (WiFi, 3.5" hi-res screen, 8GB storage, a robust modern OS and revolutionary UI, a web browser that's actually usable, etc., etc.)

And how can you call a battery rated at 8 hours of talk time "atrocious"? What do you call the Treo 680's (maybe) 4-hour battery then? A crime against humanity? Please. That class-action lawsuit is a frivolous, baseless joke, there have been no cases of an iPhone battery "breaking down", and the "bill in a box" nonsense is yesterday's old news - and, oh btw, was AT&T's fault, not Apple's.

You're _completely_ missing the big picture.

Apple "just walked in" (ahemcoughcoughCooliganahem), took over the smartphone market in record time, and instead of being smug and complacent (ahemcoughcoughPalmcough) they got even more bold and aggressive, slashing prices to go after even more dominant (and sustainable) marketshare.

Meanwhile, all Palm has managed to achieve is to finally figure out that the Foleo is completely stupid, which was obvious to everyone but them the moment they unveiled it. (I gotta agree w. earleadopter here - that's not "bold", just sad. Pathetic, really.)

As Gordon Ramsay would say, Palm needs to find its bollocks! (And I don't think there are any in the wussy, stripped-down Centro.)

13
by NowVoyager | Sep 8, 2007 8:10:14 PM

John... ahem.
Apple's battery should last 300-400 charges. Then you get the lovely pleasure of having NO PHONE or *renting* a loaner while your phone is shipped back for battery replacement. So, enjoy your eight hours while you can. Btw, that 8 hour battery was a last minute save by apple. The original battery only lasted 40 minutes! Google it. However, for your reading pleasure, here are a few lawsuits against Apple for it's beloved battery faux pas:
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9031298
http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2007/07/28/apple-sued-over-iphone-battery

And the early adopters got a $100 credit because they "hit the ceiling" about the $200 price drop! Jobs issued an apology to boot: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/09/07/BUNBS0HJ0.DTL&hw=apple&sn=001&sc=1000

So, I stand by my assessment of the glorious apple battery. While their phone is in transit for replacement and they're paying for a loaner... My Treo will rock on.

And, I've not "missed the big picture." Apple launches typically make a big splash. Then reality sets in. As with other appleware, it's pretty, overhyped and cost of ownership over time will keep it over-priced... unless Jobs chops the price again! I think I'll invest in a battery replacement business. I'll make a MINT.

*** I think the above article is clear that PALM is making adjustments to it's line. I'm hopeful. Colligan was one of the original Handspring people. I'll give him a shot, he knows innovation.

14
by Peter Brusilovsky | Sep 9, 2007 7:10:20 PM

I think, the situation is more complicated. For quite a while, Palm attempted to serve to users with different needs issuing devices with different parameters. However, it looks like this diversity is gone. For the last two years they stamp the same product - 320x320 treos with keys and no wifi. Numbers and parameters are changing, but not the idea. This is not a safe strategy to keep your market share and Palm was clearly looking for next big thing. But foleo is not it. I believe that quite a number of people would be happy with it (especially for a smaller price), but it would not be a hit. It is for a subset of a subset. A subset of owners of 320x320 treos with keys and no wifi who need a larger screen have have xtra money. I wish Palm pick up another next big thing instead. How about TX crossed with Treo? Treo with large screen and wifi? So many of us were hoped for it.. Ah, you may say that Apple already made it - and it is called iPhone. Not quite. Not until 100s of applications will appear on iPhone. Palm, you still have a chance...

15
by Manny | Sep 10, 2007 1:07:26 PM

I totally agree with Peter B. I have been a fan of Palm since the IIIc and currently own a LifeDrive. I tried the Treo 650, but returned it after it froze three times in three days. My Nokia will be replaced with either a Blackberry (not my first choice) or a Palm 750 (not really my first choice either). Why can't I be excited about a new Treo?? Come on guys, you can do it!

16
by John Whorfin | Sep 11, 2007 1:11:50 PM

NowVoyager:

Well, now you're either lying through your teeth, or demonstrating your profound ignorance.

There is no truth to your assertion that the iPhone's battery only lasts 300-400 charges, which is probably why you didn't (and couldn't) back that up. iPhone batteries may start to show some degradation after several hundred (_full_) charging cycles, but that just means they may no longer hold 100% charge. Maybe 90%. Ooo! How horrible! Get over yourself.

Then you're using frivolous lawsuits to make a point? Right. Why don't you get back to me after the lawsuit gets thrown out. Any moron can file a lawsuit - it only means something if they actually win.

And you're seriously taking a potshot at Apple for delivering a better, longer-lasting battery then they originally announced? Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense.

And to cap it all off, you wallow in the delusion that "Apple launches typically make a big splash. Then reality sets in. As with other appleware, it's pretty, overhyped and cost of ownership over time will keep it over-priced... unless Jobs chops the price again!"

Uh-huh. That's why Apple has sold OVER ONE HUNDRED MILLION IPODS. And they've already sold over a million iPhones in less than a quarter. (That's _sold_, not just _shipped_, btw, and they haven't even released it outside the U.S. yet.)

How long did it take Palm to sell a million Treos, btw?

You're a moron.

17
by Jeff | Sep 12, 2007 1:04:28 PM

When I was reading about the competition the Folio faced in last months PopSci, i was surprised the company would move ahead with the product. Then Apple dropped the price on the iPhone and reworked the interface for the iPod, and I knew Palm was in trouble of being relegated to a niche market.

So, I'd suggest that Palm works on a Treo cousin along the Sidekick lines, that will support 8GB of SD card memory and two Treo battery packs (yes folks two for long life) while you watch movies or listen to music on your new Palm Vueo (pronounced View-o). The qwerty keyboard and improved Palm OS could work with both Palm native apps and MS Media/Reader/IE.

That's my 2 cents...

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