La prima volta che vidi il Palm Foleo dissi: <<… però, è veramente un bel UMPC/sub-notebook…>>, addirittura con un design più bello dell’Asus EeePC, ma qualche settimana dopo ebbi progressivamente la smentita che quel involucro di silicio e plastica era praticamente… “vuoto” e fungeva da costosissima “estensione” al Palm Treo.
Non è raro che un progetto, costato sinora 10 MILIONI di dollari (suddivisi fra conceptual design, pianificazione dell’approvvigionamento e della scelta di materiale per i prototipi, collaudi, approvazioni di brevetto, ecc…) sia poi rigettato, ma questo dalla Palm (pilastro portante di palmari e smartphones) non ce lo saremmo mai aspettato!
Avrebbero potuto (dovuto) cambiare percorso e tramutare il Palm Foleo in qualcosa di più “completo” (dopotutto le premesse erano buone. Lato hardware: CPU Intel ARM Xscale 32-bit, cinque ore di batteria con una carica, un display da 10,2 ” con risoluzione di 1024 x 600 e supporto per un display esterno (VGA); espansione di storage tramite memory cards SD e Compact Flash o tramite USB. Lato software: Palm e Windows Mobile sync, wi-fi integrato e dulcis in fundo, un ambiente di sviluppo basato su Ubuntu Linux)…
… ma dopo diverse lamentele e critiche pesantissime pervenute più o meno a 360 gradi, quelli della Palm hanno deciso di STRONCARE COMPLETAMENTE il Foleo ieri notte, quando mi è pervenuta tramite e-mail un annuncio ufficiale (sono iscritto alla loro newsletter) che mi ha lasciato quanto mai esterrefatto… ve lo copio ed incollo di seguito:
Date: 5 September 2007, 12:40 AM
Object: Important Palm News
Mailed by: news.palmnewsletters.com
As many of you are aware, we are in the process of building our next generation software platform. We are very excited about how this is coming together. It has a modern, flexible UI, instant performance, and an incredibly simple and elegant development environment. We are working hard on this platform and on the first smartphones that will take advantage of it.
In the course of the past several months, it has become clear that the right path for Palm is to offer a single, consistent user experience around this new platform design and a single focus for our platform development efforts. To that end, and after careful deliberation, I have decided to cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all our energies on delivering our next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market. We will, of course, continue to deliver products in partnership with Microsoft on the Windows Mobile platform, but from our internal platform development perspective, we will focus on only one.
Because we were nearly at the point of shipping Foleo, this was a very tough decision. Yet I am convinced this is the right thing to do. Foleo is based on a second platform and a separate development environment, and we need to focus our efforts on one platform. Our own evaluation and early market feedback were telling us that we still have a number of improvements to make Foleo a world-class product, and we can not afford to make those improvements on a platform that is not central to our core focus. That would not be right for our customers or for our developer community.
Jeff Hawkins and I still believe that the market category defined by Foleo has enormous potential. When we do Foleo II it will be based on our new platform, and we think it will deliver on the promise of this new category. We’re not going to speculate now on timing for a next Foleo, we just know we need to get our core platform and smartphones done first.
I would like to thank our customers for their interest in Foleo. I know there will be disappointed folks who were looking forward to carrying a Foleo for all their mobile computing needs. I am certainly one of them. I would also like to thank the developers who have supported our Foleo efforts. They have been loyal to Palm and have worked hard to deliver some compelling solutions on the Foleo platform. I know that they will understand that the right thing to do for the long run is to focus on one platform that will live for years, rather than invest energy in a one-off solution. We will make every effort to make sure we bring our developers forward to our next generation platform.
This decision will require us to take a limited charge of less than $10 million dollars to our earnings. This is a lot of money, but it is a small price relative to the costs that would be required to support two platforms going forward. This decision is in the best interest of our customers, our team, our products and our shareholders. I hope this renewed focus at Palm will allow us to deliver more compelling solutions to our core smartphone market, and it will allow us to position ourselves for the long run around one Palm experience.
President & CEO
Adios, Foleo! 😦