Palm cooks up a companion for Smartphones

Palm tipped off those in the tech industry yesterday that it would be making a big announcement today in the area of mobile computing. The company made good on their promise and today Palm announced the new Palm Foleo mobile companion for Smartphones.

"Smartphones will be the most prevalent personal computers on the planet, ultimately able to do everything that desktop computers can do. However, there are times when people need a large screen and full-size keyboard," said Palm, Inc. founder Jeff Hawkins. "As smartphones get smaller, this need increases. The Foleo completes the picture, creating a mobile-computing system that sets a new standard in simplicity."

The Foleo features a 10" screen, full-size keyboard, instant on/off capabilities, weighs just 2.5 pounds and has an estimated battery life of 5 hours. The Foleo is capable of syncing data with a Smartphone via its built-in Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity.

Palm's new device is powered by Linux and serves as a companion to Smartphones. The compact device features an email application, Opera web browser and applications that will allow users to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents along with Adobe PDFs.

The Foleo has out-of-the box support for most Palm OS and Windows Mobile-based Smartphones. Smartphones which use operating systems from RIM, Apple and Symbian can be supported via a simple software update in the future.

"The Palm Foleo represents our first product in a new line of solutions that will redefine how people work while away from their desks. It starts today with a focus on wireless email, and we expect the Foleo to grow in features and expand its capabilities as the platform grows," said Palm, Inc. president and CEO Ed Colligan.

The Palm Foleo mobile companion will be available this summer for a price of $599. Palm will offer an introductory $100 rebate on the device for a brief period which will effectively bring the price down to $499.

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