As expected, Palm on Wednesday introduced a new mobile computing device. It’s radically different than the company’s popular line of Treo smartphones, and it’s called the Foleo. It’s designed to work in conjunction with a Treo, but it offers users a large screen and full sized keyboard — it looks like a small laptop. Palm expects it to cost $499 (after a $100 rebate) when the Foleo is released this summer.
Palm CEO Jeff Hawkins claims that Foleo is the beginning of a new line of companion products aimed at smartphones — not only Palm Treos, but smartphones made by other companies as well. Hawkins unveiled the new device at the D: All Things Digital event in Carlsbad, Calif.
Prior to the unveiling, Palm indicated it would announce a new product, but gave neither the industry press nor analysts an advance look at what it planned to introduce.
The Folio isn’t a computer unto itself — it’s designed as a complementary product for the Treo, providing users with a 10-inch widescreen display and full-sized keyboard with built in scrolling tool, connecting wirelessly to the Treo using Bluetooth. Any changes you make using the Foleo are instantly displayed on the phone.
Using the Foleo, you can respond to e-mails, view attachments, look at Web pages and photos. You can edit and create Microsoft Word and Excel-compatible documents, view PDF files and display PowerPoint presentations, as well. Foleo can also drive an external display or projector using a VGA adapter.
You can surf Wi-Fi hotspots wirelessly using the Folio’s built-in Wi-Fi capability. Outside of Wi-Fi range, you can alternately or connect over your cell phone provider’s data network by using a Bluetooth connection to the phone.
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