Matt\’s Cuppa

My take on tea, technology, and our environment

What Alan Graham Doesn’t See

Posted by telecommatt on June 13, 2007

First off, I’d better begin by saying that I enjoy reading Alan Graham’s Web 2.0 Explorer blog over at ZDNet. Also, I’m not a Palm user. I’ve toyed with them and never really felt like they worked the way I did. I do, however, have to take issue with Alan Graham’s assessment of Palm’s new product, the Foleo:

Sell your stock yet?

Once the shining pioneer that took Apple’s idea of mobile
computing and scaled it to fit in your pocket, now the company that
can’t seem to figure out what they make or who they are. This
week they announced their stellar new product, the Foleo fake laptop.

Seriously…this is a joke, right?

If you take a moment to view the presentation on Palm’s site, and I mean the full presentation, you get a pretty clear picture of where Palm founder Jeff Hawkins is going with this thing. And I’ve got to say, I think that he’s right. Smartphones are already becoming our communications hub. It’s with you all the time. You go home and sync it with your computer. You go to work and sync it there. And you sync it with your laptop when you travel. And by now, it’s got three quarters of the capability that your laptop has, plus it probably houses half your mp3 collection and photos of your last vacation.

My thought is that Hawkins sees a future where we work by proximity. We put our handset with range of some device and all our information is available to us on that device.

Yeah…sometimes you do want a full keyboard or screen…but
are you really going to spend that much money to supplement your phone?

What Graham doesn’t seem to get is that this is not a “supplement” for your phone. This is the future of your laptop. Face it. Your laptop is a brick that is full of features that you never use. This is exactly why, when my IBM Transnote died, I bought a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet instead. I examined the way I used my last machine and realized that I didn’t need all the “stuff” that the manufactures try to sell you on. And now that I’ve bought a device that hosts just the features that I need to do my job, I’m suddenly a lot more productive. Imagine that!

Right now the market for this sort of device is slim. Compare it to the internet table market or the UMPC market. But companies are investing because there is a future to these markets. Hawkins makes it clear that the Foleo is a product line, not an accessory. I see being able to walk up to a desk, or a kiosk, or a podium anywhere, and having your vital information at your fingertips with little or no effort on your part. I’m not quite certain what Graham sees.

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One Response to “What Alan Graham Doesn’t See”

  1. […] Posted by telecommatt on September 5th, 2007 I’m a bit disappointed about this news. Palm is evidently nixing its Foleo product due to expensive bug fixes and lack of public reaction. I rather liked the idea behind the Foleo. Why carry a computer with you when 80% of the time you only use 20% of its capability? I actually would welcome the idea of computers being replaced by component machines that speak with each other. I posted about the Foleo earlier. […]

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