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Devices/smartphones

Palm Cans Foleo

Palm Inc. 's CEO has decided to drop the Foleo "mobile companion" just months after the new device was being promoted by the company as a ground-breaking new product. (See Palm's Constant Companion.)

Ed Colligan, Palm's CEO, put a post on the firm's official blog explaining the decision on Tuesday afternoon, citing the need for Palm to focus development on its smartphone platform as a key factor.

"After careful deliberation, I have decided to cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all of our energies on delivering our next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market," Colligan writes. "We will, of course, continue to develop products in partnership with Microsoft on the Windows Mobile platform, but from our internal platform development perspective, we will focus on only one."

The change in its plans will mean that Palm takes "a limited charge of less than $10 million dollars to our earnings," the CEO notes. "Yet I am convinced this is the right thing to do."

Foleo, he writes, would have required more spending and development work to bring it to market, and Palm needs to focus on its next-generation smartphones, which are the products that actually make money for the device maker.

The tablet PC-like Foleo was always a controversial choice for a new product line. The gizmo was intended to work in conjunction with the company's cellphones. Its creator, Palm founder Jeff Hawkins, described the device as the "most exciting product I've worked on with Palm."

Analysts largely hated the concept, though, describing it as "dead on arrival" or "disappointing."

"I hate to say I told them so," says analyst Jack Gold J.Gold Associates on the news of the cancellation.

Palm's new smartphone platform is rumored to use Linux. "It has a modern flexible UI, instant performance, and an incredibly simple and elegant development environment," Colligan promises.

He adds that the Foleo concept could make a return once Palm has the resources but doesn't say when.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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