If you were planning to camp out this week for the launch of the Palm Foleo, pick up the tent and go home.
Barron's Tech Trader Daily blog spotted a research note from Deutsche Bank's Jonathan Goldberg saying that Palm has delayed the launch of the Foleo, a Linux-based "mobile companion" that looks like a laptop but doesn't deliver anything close to a laptop experience. The device is now expected to ship in late September or early October, according to Goldberg. When Palm founder Jeff Hawkins unveiled the device in May at the D: All Things Digital conference, the company said it expected to launch it this summer.
The Foleo is meant to be a way to ease the pained thumbs of Treo addicts. Theoretically, a business traveler could use the Foleo to read, compose and reply to e-mails that would be too difficult to tap out on the Treo keypad. But it doesn't work with corporate e-mail software from Research in Motion or Motorola and isn't designed to work apart from a smart phone. For the most part, analysts and Palm enthusiasts were not impressed, although Hawkins called it "the best idea I've ever had."
But if it doesn't work, it doesn't matter whether it was the best or worst idea ever to spring from Hawkins' agile mind (after all, he is the guy responsible for the Palm Pilot and the original Treo). Deutsche Bank's Goldberg said software bugs are holding back the Foleo release, including "an inability to synchronize the Foleo with most models of the Treo, in particular the nominally high-volume Treo 680." Yikes. That's only the entire premise behind the Foleo.
You've got to wonder what's going on at Palm. For a detailed look at the problems faced by one of the pioneers of mobile computing, and some possible remedies, check out Engadget's "intervention" plea.