Palm’s Foleo gets the thumbs down from Gartner

The Foleo has not received a very warm reception from Gartner, which says that Palm’s offering doesn’t take into account what mobile users really want or need.

Palm's Foleo gets the thumbs down from Gartner

The portable device boasts a 10-inch screen and full size keyboard, web browser and viewers for applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It makes use of Bluetooth to synchronise the add-on and the smartphone.

But, despite ensuring the offering has enough battery life (5 hours) to satisfy mobile users’ requirements, it falls short in other areas, according to Gartner.

‘In an era in which increasing functionality is converging into ever-smaller devices, Palm has decided to buck the trend,’ Gartner’s principal research analyst Todd Kort said in a research note.

‘The Foleo is too large for many smartphone users to consider carrying around as a limited-function accessory that requires a separate carrying case. Gartner believes that this unwieldiness will severely limit Foleo adoption by smartphone users, who place a premium on “pocketability” and attractive design.’

Palm claims that the Foleo is not being

targeted as a competitor to the notebook, but Gartner believes that the product’s less-than-small size suggests otherwise.

‘We believe there is a small but growing segment of the market that would welcome a low-cost device with a full keyboard and good display that is capable of roughly 75 per cent of what most notebook computers are used for. But the Foleo’s functionality falls short of this,’ Kort added.

‘We believe the Foleo could be more successful if it were modified and re-positioned to serve as a low-end Linux notebook PC, able to replace Windows or Apple notebooks in some usage scenarios. The Linux community might rally behind a more capable device with a faster processor, more memory and a larger battery. Few software developers are likely to write for this device until there is a sizable installed base, but the installed base is unlikely to become sizable unless the Foleo provides more functionality out of the box (such as a personal information manager suite, VoIP, instant messaging and cellular communications via a Bluetooth headset).’

Gartner is not recommending that large businesses offer support for the Foleo. But it suggests that those who do want to support it offer a ‘concierge’ level of custom, hands-on assistance where the costs are passed directly back to the individual user or department involved.

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