In a stunning move, Palm’s CEO recently announced that the Foleo Mobile Companion will not be released. This device had been scheduled to hit the U.S. market later this month.
In an extensive statement on this decision posted on his company’s blog, Ed Colligan wrote:
Foleo is based on second platform and a separate development environment, and we need to focus our efforts on one platform. Our own evaluation and early market feedback were telling us that we still have a number of improvements to make Foleo a world-class product, and we can not afford to make those improvements on a platform that is not central to our core focus. That would not be right for our customers or for our developer community.
The Foleo would have been a laptop-like device running a version of the Linux OS, but not the same version of this operating system that many of Palm’s future smartphones will run. Hence the company decision to cancel a device that would have been a sideline to its main focus: the Treo line.
In the future, Palm will primarily concentrate its development efforts on its upcoming Linux-based operating system — which many are referring to as Palm OS II — and the smartphones that will run it. Palm will, however, continue to offer models running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile.
The company says it will take a charge of less than $10 million dollars on its earnings because of this decision.
Looking Ahead to a Foleo II
This afternoon’s announcement does not mean that Palm has given up on the idea of the Foleo. As Colligan said:
Jeff Hawkins and I still believe that the market category defined by Foleo has enormous potential. When we do Foleo II it will be based on our new platform, and we think it will deliver on the promise of this new category. We’re not going to speculate now on timing for a next Foleo, we just know we need to get our core platform and smartphones done first.