TealPoint Software has been very involved into the Foleo project from day one; they were among the first third-party developers to announce applications for Palm’s ill-fated “notebook”.

Anyways, Tex left the following comment on TamsPPC’s article on the Celio RedFly. It highlights a few of the crucial weaknesses of the Foleo from a developer’s(and user’s) point of view:

This sounds like a pretty interesting product. One of the Foleo’s biggest limitations was that it only ran apps under its own custom operating system, and thus forced Palm into the unenviable position of needing to recruit developers for a device with an installed base of zero units. This left obvious holes in the Foleo’s feature offerings (instant messaging, printing, etc) which made it difficult to promote as a well-rounded productivity tool.

Being a passive slave device allows the RedFly to use the existing library of Windows Mobile software and not be tied to one platform when other drivers are written.

It also keeps the RedFly from becoming yet another device with its own data to synchronize, backup, and secure, an issue we encountered when beta testing the Foleo. The Foleo only synced email with your phone, so in the end you’d have keep a second copy of all your data on it with no easy way to keep the two synchronized.

The only bad side is that the price is still too high, especially for a unit that can be seen as less functional that even the Foleo, which was often criticized as being overpriced.

Sadly, the Foleo probably could have filled this niche if Palm had simply written drivers to allow it to operate as a “dumb” slave to an existing smartphone. Then, the native apps on the device would not be absolutely necessary, and a few built-in apps–such as a web browser–could be seen solely as bonus functionality for when a phone was not available.

Internally, I suspect the RedFly hardware is very similar to the Foleo, except perhaps with less memory. Using it primarily as a slaved peripheral is a new approach, however, and a path Palm chose not to follow. In hindsight, the Foleo took an in-between approach that probably doomed it; not enough standalone functionality to replace a laptop, and not enough phone integration to be a mobile companion.

What do you think?

Related posts:

  1. Foleo gets “revived” as RedFly for Windows Mobile
  2. Foleo canceled/discontinued
  3. Foleo interview: Iain Barclay
  4. Foleo interview: Jan Slodicka
  5. Foleo Interview: Donald Kirker

2 Responses to “A developer’s post-mortem look at the Foleo”

  1. I think Tex got it mostly right. There may be a market for a slave device, but there definitely is a market for a Mini-Computer (look at the eeePC), but once again, Palm failed to capitalize on any market.

  2. Hi Brent,
    as for the eeePC, it is selling insanely well…

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

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