Palm Invents The $500 Keyboard

Palm's latest offering, the Foleo, was much anticipated. They unveiled it yesterday, and now Palm's sale to another company is much anticipated. The Foleo is a laptop sized digital device for reading your e-mail, synching with your smart phone and --not much more. The main selling point is a large qwerty keyboard. Jeff Hawkins of Palm, in a fit of giddiness at odds with the capabilities of the product, offered: "This is the most exciting product I've worked on in a long time -- in fact, ever," Okay, then.

But some analysts were skeptical, saying the company, which has been hard-pressed to follow up on the success of its Treo line of phones, seems to have struck out with the Foleo. Despite record sales in the most-recent quarter, Palm posted a 61 percent drop in profit as it struggled to compete with larger rivals like Research In Motion and Nokia.

The increasing competition has prompted some investors to call for a sale of Palm to a larger company or at least the development of a breakthrough product to re-energize the company's lineup. Analyst Todd Kort with Gartner Research said the Foleo is not likely to be that standout product.

"I think it's the most disappointing product I've encountered in several years, considering all the secrecy and hype we've gotten about it," Kort said. "Basically, the thing is way too big and heavy. You won't take this thing around as an adjunct to a phone."

I still use my old Palm III every day. If you can't sell to me, who are you going to sell to?
Tags:  Palm, Keyboard, LM, board, key, AR, K