Palm Foleo vs Nokia N800

So, Palm introduced a “mobile companion” today, based on Linux, called Palm Foleo. The only similar product in the market today is Nokia’s N800. Here’s my take on it:

The Palm offering has a big 10″ screen and a hardware keyboard, but the N800 is smaller, it has a touchscreen and a real UI rather than an email/web interface and nothing else. You see, Palm’s Foleo –except few preference settings– does not have a full UI that enables third party apps or calendars or even music or video. It is simply, a web browser and an email client. Nothing else. Not even a solitaire game can’t be found in there. In the N800 instead you will find lots of different third party applications and a real UI rather than just a single front-end to email/web.

If you are JUST looking for web/email client to contemplate your phone, then the Palm Foleo is a good idea. However, it is a big device, you can’t slide it in your pocket as you can with the N800. If you are going to have a 10″ screen laptop, get a Fujitsu laptop instead which runs a full desktop OS. But then again, the Fujitsu laptop costs $1600, while the Foleo costs $600.

If you are looking at a mobile companion at a smaller form factor and with the ability to do more, other than web/email, then the N800 remains the best choice at $375. Besides, Nokia has licensed Flash and so the N800 can do YouTube, while the Foleo can’t! According to Gizmodo, the Foleo doesn’t do video at all actually.

Personally, I would be sold into a device that’s in between the N800 and Foleo. It should have a WXGA resolution (1024×600) at a 7″ touchscreen (rotatable, to look like a tablet) and a hardware keyboard like Foleo’s, but all other features should be as found in the N800. Now, that would rock because it is the best of both worlds between the two products and at the same time it would be much more “mobile” than the smallest desktop laptop available.


Gawron wrote on May 30th, 2007 at 11:02 AM PST:

Hmmm, Psion 7 / Psion Netpad comes to mind (not counting TRS80-100, Z88, IBM Z50 etc.)… Foleo seems to a great, missed opportunity – make it a bit smaller, open it up (say – why not base it on Maemo, that would be a start of a Linux mobile software ecosystem…) and make sure it is not too expensive (400$ would be much more attractive). Would be a great “mobile professional” gadget…

Hmmm, HTC athena also…

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Eugenia wrote on May 30th, 2007 at 11:04 AM PST:

HTC Athena does not compare because it is loaded with features and it’s a real GSM phone. But for the rest of the things you suggest, we agree. The Foleo should have been nothing but an N800 but with a hardware keyboard and a 7″ WXGA screen.

Gawron wrote on May 30th, 2007 at 11:07 AM PST:

Except Athena is speakerphone only :-) so calling it a “real” phone is a slight overstatement. But right, it’s in a different class of devices.

Razvan Corneliu VILT wrote on May 31st, 2007 at 1:47 AM PST:


You should give Palm a break. It sounds like an excelent first step into the world of Linux. I think that it will take the maemo hackers only about 2 weeks after the Foleo comes out, to port the Maemo Desktop on it. Since it’s Linux, the Kernel is GPL, and it probably is a linux2.6, thus I imagine that all the patches for hardware support will be cleaned up and sent upstream by the community, and if they use X11 (as opposed to a direct framebuffer method in which case you get the hardware support from the kernel), they probably use Xorg, and since Xorg is GPL, you get the patches for that too. Porting Maemo should be rather easy, once we have the hardware support.

Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, let’s start to apreciate what we already have. This is a modern Linux compatible device that will run Maemo, or another opensource desktop without any problems.

I know that you might bring the OpenEZX project as an argument, but keep in mind that they had the difficult task of porting undocumented code from Linux 2.4, to the totally different Linux 2.6. That doesn’t apply to the Foleo, as it is definatelly a 2.6 based device (see the power management stuff that they claim). Even more, the OpenEZX project is basically in an excelent almost feature-complete state (kernel-wise), except for the Power Management part, where there is still some work to do.

I think that, even if it’s a little slow, the Linux assault on Mobile computing (cell phones, PDAs, Palm Computers, Laptops) is going to be awesome.

I for one will buy one as soon as it comes out. I already have an E680i, a ROKR E6, and a Nokia N800. The Foleo will be a welcomed addition to my collection. I am almost positive that I won’t run it’s software, and that I will run either a version of the Maemo Desktop, or of another GTK based open source desktop.


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Eugenia wrote on May 31st, 2007 at 1:53 AM PST:

>Porting Maemo should be rather easy, once we have the hardware support.

The screen does not seem to be a touchscreen, and so Maemo would be useless in the Foleo. More over, many of the drivers will be closed source, none of these companies ever open all the drivers because usually they don’t have the “ok” from the hardware manufacturers in Asia.

>This is a modern Linux compatible device that will run Maemo, or another opensource desktop without any problems.

You are making HUGE assumptions and you should really not do that. Not all specs/drivers are or will be open sourced. Heck, Palm hasn’t even given any info on SDKs, other than a vague “it will run apps”.

Nokia on the other side, it said from DAY ONE that this will be an open platform and such. Palm seems to try to market this laptop to Office professionals rather than a more generic crowd.

Jason wrote on May 31st, 2007 at 2:37 AM PST:

I think you got this one confused Eugenia. The Foleo does support 3rd party applications. As shown on the Palm site, Dataviz’s Documents to Go has already been ported. However, it doesn’t carry PACE or a Garnet compatability layer so existing PalmOS apps won’t run.

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Eugenia wrote on May 31st, 2007 at 2:45 AM PST:

>Dataviz’s Documents to Go has already been ported.

Yes, same thing for Motorola’s Linux phones. There were 5 companies that had access to the SDK in order to port their apps, and no one else. That’s not enough and certainly Palm’s target is not a third party community (shown by the lack of a dev site – nokia was open about this from day 1), but a closed-down app environment.

Josep wrote on May 31st, 2007 at 12:05 PM PST:

On PalmInfoCenter they have more details.
It’s screen resolution is 1024×600 it supports Flash, however it’s processor can’t handle videos very well.
Also from the article:

“The Foleo will be a fully open platform, with Palm encouraging creative third party applications. A SDK was promised to be posted when the product becomes available.”

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