I don’t expect Palm’s forthcoming
mobile companion to boast a broad
JASON BROOKS: FREE ENTERPRISE catalog of made-for-Foleo applications,
and even though the product’s Linux
Will Foleo fulfill promise? innards will likely allow for more soft-
ware flexibility than we’ve seen from
other devices of this sort, I’m not
banking on that flexibility, either.
PALM DEVICE MAY SUCCEED WHERE OTHERS HAVE FAILED Rather, what makes me most opti-
mistic that the Foleo might succeed
I’ve been burned Internet Explorer and not much else. where other products have failed
more than once Back in 1999, when the WorkPad is the Foleo’s apparent fitness as a
by lighter-than- z50 first shipped, the market for mo- simple terminal for Web-based appli-laptop computing bile device software was small com- cations.
devices that have pared with that for desktop and note- Even if the rest of the software
failed to fulfill book computers, and things haven’t that ships with the Foleo ends up
their promise. Still, changed too much in the years since. stinking, as long as the device gets
I can’t help but With so many different form fac- the browser part right, it’ll offer
be excited about tors and resource profiles, it’s tough users a way around the resource,
Palm’s Foleo mobile companion. to build applications that will run on application and upgrade limitations
The 2.5-pound device, which Palm many different devices, and there’s that have held back its predecessors.
announced recently and plans to so much change in the mobile device Based on what Palm has an-
begin shipping later this summer, space that users are in constant dan- nounced about the Foleo so far, it
will sport the display and keyboard ger of seeing their devices drop out of appears the device will have what it
of a typical notebook computer and application support matrices. takes to do the Web well: The Foleo
the battery life and instant on/off For the z50, there was never an will ship with a Web browser from
capability of a handheld device. upgrade path to access the improve- Opera; with a 1,024-by-600-pixel
This mix of features is what I’ve ments that Microsoft subsequently display that will render Web pages
long sought in a mobile computer: made to Windows CE, as IBM dis- without weird reformatting; and
something that’s functional enough continued the product almost immedi- with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios for
to write and browse with, but light ately, and Microsoft dumped the MIPS Internet connectivity. For the Foleo
enough to carry architecture that really to shine, its browser will need
everywhere with- THIS MIX OF FEATURES IS powered the to offer some sort of offline appli-
out stopping to WHAT I’VE LONG SOUGHT z50 in favor of a cation support, the likes of which calculate whether focus solely on Google is beta testing now in the
the added load IN A MOBILE COMPUTER. ARM chips. form of its Gears project. Opera has
is worth the Now, I was stated that it’s working on offline
typically short run-time delivered by aware of the z50’s software failings application support, but we’ll have to
notebook batteries. when I picked one up in 2001 for about wait and see how that shakes out. ´
As I mentioned, however, I’ve been a fifth of what it originally had sold for,
disappointed before. Take my IBM z50 but I had plans to work around WinCE. Advanced Technologies Analyst Jason
WorkPad, a pleasantly shrunken Think- I ran NetBSD on the z50 for a time, Brooks is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pad that weighed about 2. 5 pounds and but the arrangement never worked
carried a very nice keyboard and a pass- well enough to make it past the hacky- WWEB RESOURCES
ably large 640-480-pixel display. How- experimental stages with me.
ever, despite its form-factor attributes, That I was able to load a real oper- Laptop power
the z50 fell far short of its promise and ating system onto my z50 didn’t mean
was discontinued very shortly after it the device was capable of running Palm’s Foleo www.palm.
began shipping. that operating system well. After all, com/us/products/ mobilecompanion/foleo
The z50’s biggest problems were these sorts of devices are, by defini-
software-related—and the same goes tion, underpowered compared with
for most other devices of this type. regular notebooks, which means that
For starters, the z50 shipped with even if you’re able to get your hands
the lousy Windows CE 2. 11, which on some decent software, you can’t
sported so-so Pocket Office applica- necessarily expect your supermobile
tions, a terrible version of Pocket computer to run the software well.
All about the z50
IBM’s WorkPad z50 www-307.