View Full Version : One simple addition that makes the Foleo a winner

Bob Russell
06-01-2007, 07:36 PM
Okay, so the Foleo looks like a dud with potential at best. Not so fast!

I want to propose a simple change in the design and purpose that would make it the killer device that it should have been in the first place, and it would be so good that I would run out and buy one as soon as it's released.

Here are the three simple additions to the Foleo that make it a winner:

1) Make it a touchscreen convertible tablet device that you can write on
2) Add a program like OneNote, with smart phone sync
3) Put a decent calendar program on it that uses the big screen and keyboard

Now that's a revolutionary device that I would buy, and I bet they could sell it for $600. Later they can improve it even more with more storage, faster processor, multimedia and so forth. But this makes it a device I want now!

How do you describe such a device? As a Franklin Planner. You remember - those things that everyone carried around until smart phones came out. Why did people carry them around? Because it served an important purpose. People had their life in there. Calendar, reference material, notes, addresses and so forth.

Instead of paper, now a lot of people have half rate solutions. A smartphone is convenient, but have you ever used the calendar in them? It barely suffices, and mostly it's for geeks. You can't see much on the screen so it's hard to use as a calendar. What about notes? It's hard to capture text or writing.

Those who use paper don't have a backup, they don't have password protection, they don't have search capability, they can only carry a limited amount, they have to keep buying refills, they have lots of things scratched out or falling out. In short, it's limited because it's paper and not electronic.

Now we're talking about a real life need being satisfied. PDAs and smart phones didn't do it. Paper has severe limitations (of which backup is a very important one - people often have a great fear of what would happen if they lost their paper planner). UMPCs aren't really integrated really well with the smartphone yet, and are going to be a little more expensive for a while. But the Foleo can be simple and cheap and small, and it can meet a need. It can be your electronic planner.

Even the phrase "electronic planner" has a bad connotation now because it's so hard to use PDAs that way. But not the Foleo with a touch screen.

Ask just about any tablet pc owner. What is one of the most loved programs and uses for a tablet pc? It's OneNote. They can take notes and organize them with web clippings and documents and find it easily even if it's handwritten. Want to pull up your notes from that conference call last week? You can do it. Want to know what the sermon from last week was about? Pull up your notes. Want to remember what the house you saw Friday was like from the back? Pull up the picture you took. (Whoops - no camera you say? No problem because there's a camera in your smart phone, so if properly integrated you can add pictures on the spot.)

So if they had Bob Russell on the design team at Palm, that's the device you would have. Maybe a two-tier option. Simple Foleo for barebones field organizations to roll out cheaply with custom applications, and a consumer Foleo for executives and regular people who actually want to do something with it!

Let's do a little poll on this. Tell me what you think. (Click on the full article to see the poll.)

Bob Russell
06-01-2007, 07:42 PM
Okay... I realize I cheated. It's really three simple additions, not one, isn't it? Oh well. Maybe we can consider it literary license for effect?! :embarasse

06-01-2007, 08:10 PM
So, in essence, Foleo would be great if it weren't really Foleo, but a convertible tablet PC / laptop? :D

Makes sense :rolleyes:

Edit: Let's face it, it's too thick, too big, too heavy, too expensive and has a too short a battery life. If you put a touch screen on it, OneNote, heck, you might as well build in a coffe machine in it, it would still be too thick, too big, too heavy and too expensive. It's a nice idea (albeit not a new one, nor a revolutionary one - see Psion 7 NetBook, for example) but a totally lame implementation.

06-01-2007, 08:33 PM
I'd like it to have a browser that I could use Google Docs and Calendar with (I've read it has Opera, which apparently does not work with some/most Google apps).

The whole tablet idea is a great one though, but wouldn't it really jack up the price?

06-02-2007, 12:57 AM
I'm actually pretty excited about the product as it is -- with one exception. The one thing I would add, which I cannot for the life of me understand why Palm didn't, is the Palm Desktop. Being a GTD fanatic, not having a full-screen portal to my task lists and calendar is a serious drawback, especially for a device predicated on heavy email usage.

Actionable emails will generally have some actions associated with them that need to be entered in Tasks or Calendar, which is what I do at my desk on the Palm Desktop. Having to peck this information into the Treo keyboard is doable, but inconvenient. And I have serious doubts that whatever third-party PIMs are released for the Foleo (e.g. Beyond Contacts) will offer 100% replication of all data fields in the Palm Desktop (e.g. the note fields in Tasks, Contacts and Calendar entries).

06-02-2007, 01:41 AM
Hey! I use the calendar on my Palm regularly!

That being said, a "OneNote Appliance" would be of some interest to me, indeed. A dedicated device that basically ran OneNote, or some similar application, and was portable enough (I still can't get over 2.5 pounds :no: ), and could then sync those note files over to my PC would be a great deal of use in meetings and planning sessions.

I'm expecting to get a Tablet through work in the near future, and I plan to make use of OneNote on that for exactly that purpose. If it works out half as well as as I hope, I'll be pretty pleased with it. Putting just that functionality into the Foleo would get my attention.

Except .... One of the strengths of OneNote is the ability to pull bits and pieces from other apps into one place for reference and manipulation. I don't guess you could get that in a dedicated device. :sad3:

06-02-2007, 07:20 AM
Allright, first post here..

In Denmark where I live, we have Turbo 3G covering most of the
country. This net gives access to a maximum of 1.5 Mbit/s and
some places 3 Mbit/s internet.
So you could use the Foleo anywhere, browse the web, read emails etc.
At home you could rest on the couch with the Foleo.
Maybe it's not such a bad idea after all.

06-02-2007, 09:04 AM
I don't see what's wrong with the Foleo as it is!

06-02-2007, 11:14 AM
There may be things on this device we don't know about, such as calendaring and note-taking capabilities. If they aren't there, I'm confident they'll show up some time after launch.

I understand the desire for a touch screen, but I think that would raise the price and might negatively impact battery life. Heck, I'd love to have a convertible form factor, touch screen or no, so it could sub as a text reader too.

06-02-2007, 05:57 PM
In Denmark where I live, we have Turbo 3G covering most of the country. This net gives access to a maximum of 1.5 Mbit/s and
some places 3 Mbit/s internet.
So you could use the Foleo anywhere, browse the web, read emails etc.
At home you could rest on the couch with the Foleo.
Maybe it's not such a bad idea after all.

Great! Except Foleo doesn't have 3G, only WLAN and Bluetooth ;)
So you'd have to use your smartphone for broadband access and we're back on the beginning - why would you want to use Foleo at all (instead of, perhaps, a 3G enabled laptop).

06-03-2007, 12:39 PM
I would have thought the Foleo to be whole new tool that would have surprised us as the first Palms did and dare I say Newton did?