The Palm Foleo - Too Late?

It’s been a very long time since I described what I considered a perfect PDA.

Time enough, in fact, for the concept to need some serious re-thinking, but if I were to have another stab at it, I would go for something pretty much like the spanking new Palm Foleo:

Yes, I know it seems expensive (especially when compared to the OLPC and other options), but the truth is that after having seen the tablet concept tank repeatedly (even the latest geek toys like the 770 and N800 are just that, toys), I find the notion of a lightweight (i.e., A5 or sub-A4-sized) device with a decent battery life and a sensible keyboard very interesting indeed – and much more so if it has a Bluetooth connection to get online via my HSDPA phone.

Yes, Wi-Fi is interesting, but realistically, and after years of hotspot business model hype, 3G is the only mobile broadband that actually works. Check out the (public) figures for Portugal here.

I can do without the (dubiously useful) phone-to-laptop syncing (much better to have the thing access a standard e-mail account directly), and hope that the thing has enough built-in storage to carry around a few PDFs, but on the whole, I’m sold – a lot of people will go on about it being too limited, out of touch with what people want from laptops, etc., etc., but they will be missing the point.

This is a mobile appliance, guys. Sure, it’s a bit on the pricey side and doesn’t do most of what you usually do on a laptop, but (and this is, as always, the key point about simple devices) it does the essentials right – or seems to.

Besides, you don’t need a “full” laptop anyway (throw in a Citrix client, and I’m sold – I’ve been living in that for over a year, and it works for me).

Let’s wait and see what it really works like (if anyone wants to send one my way for a thorough review, feel free – I’m a believer).

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