Palm Foleo

Palm last week introduced the Foleo, a Linux-based QWERTY mini-laptop that costs only $500 (with $100 rebate). Palm is marketing the Foleo as a "mobile companion" for your Smartphone, though the Foleo does have built-in WiFi and could presumably offer some competition for Nokia's N800 Internet Tablet.

The launch of the Foleo reminds me of the Lifedrive, Palm's 2005 attempt at a game-changing, hard-drive based PDA. The Lifedrive, which also cost about $500, tried to fill a similar niche: business users who need access to spreadsheets or Word documents, but don't want to lug around a laptop. The Lifedrive failed to reignite the failing PDA segment of the market, and Palm eventually pulled the plug early this year. Hopefully the Foleo will fare better than the Lifedrive. Despite a curious marketing angle, the Foleo may be just the thing for business users who can't justify buying a $2,000+ sub-notebook just to check email from the road.