Hideously awful product idea meets its fate

posted at 6:55 pm on September 5, 2007 by Allahpundit

A little closure here for long-time HA readers, who doubtless remember this trainwreck as fondly as I do. “Wait, AP — you mean people who already own a cell phone and a fully-loaded laptop don’t want to pay 500 bucks for another, slightly smaller, much crappier laptop?” Alas, my friends, that’s exactly what I mean:

Chief Executive Officer Ed Colligan said Tuesday the Foleo, a lightweight computing device meant to be paired with a smart phone, is being canceled just three months after it was announced. Colligan said the challenge of creating the Foleo alongside Palm’s traditional business of smart phones and personal digital assistants proved too much for the Sunnyvale company…

The Foleo was the pet project of Palm founder Jeff Hawkins, who proclaimed in May it was “the most exciting product I’ve worked on in a long time.”

Two clips here near and dear to my heart, the first an intellectual exercise called “Why Would I Ever Buy This Product?” and the second the now-immortal video in which Hawkins himself excitedly touts one of the device’s chief selling points. Contain your excitement, if you can.

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We should have had a dead pool….

calbear on September 5, 2007 at 7:00 PM

I wonder if the Zune will be the next on the chopping block?

Slublog on September 5, 2007 at 7:01 PM

You have to figure 7 or 8 people bought it … to the ridicule of friends and hostile contempt of wives. And now, aw shucks, they don’t get the last laugh.

laelaps on September 5, 2007 at 7:04 PM

When a product’s most exciting feature is the On/Off Switch, you’ve gotta know it isn’t lasting long.

amerpundit on September 5, 2007 at 7:09 PM

In clip 2, he forgot tom mention that there is also a PERMANENT OFF switch.

Looks like he finally found it.

Had a little emoticon on it like this:

(:()

profitsbeard on September 5, 2007 at 7:11 PM

I don’t understand. It is a laptop that connects to the internet. Didn’t we have that 10 years ago?

jihadwatcher on September 5, 2007 at 7:13 PM

I don’t know why, I was reminded of THIS GEM from 1982…the first real affordable “computer”…

JetBoy on September 5, 2007 at 7:14 PM

I don’t understand. It is a laptop that connects to the internet. Didn’t we have that 10 years ago?

Yeah, but this is like…small and everything. That makes it totally different. Plus, the on/off switch!

Slublog on September 5, 2007 at 7:15 PM

you mean i can turn it on AND off!!!one!!eleven!

lorien1973 on September 5, 2007 at 7:16 PM

Folly-o

jihadwatcher on September 5, 2007 at 7:17 PM

Whoa, whoa, whoa…wait a minute…wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute!!! You push one button for “on” and push the same freakin’ button for “off”???!!!11!1!!! This is a whole new product!!

jdpaz on September 5, 2007 at 7:18 PM

Well, let’s try to think of some graceful point to retire it with…

It beat the OSBORNE 1, that’s for sure!

profitsbeard on September 5, 2007 at 7:19 PM

How should I put this?

I read the posts, watched the videos (again), and had to take a leak… where I burst out laughing.

Thanks, AP.

Christoph on September 5, 2007 at 7:20 PM

This was my original computer. The Apple IIc also had an on/off switch, but once the keyboard jammed, the entire unit had to be tossed.

laelaps on September 5, 2007 at 7:22 PM

It beat the OSBORNE 1, that’s for sure!

profitsbeard on September 5, 2007 at 7:19 PM

Dang…and that thing was not cheap either…a “laptop” that required almost two laps!

JetBoy on September 5, 2007 at 7:23 PM

Next from this company:

The INTEROCITER!

profitsbeard on September 5, 2007 at 7:25 PM

Wait, I’m confused…I hit the same button a second time and it turns off? What if I hit it by accident? This idea is too complicated.

Blacklake on September 5, 2007 at 7:26 PM

Sorry-

they screwed up again…

The INTEROCITOR!

Jetboy-

My older brother got 1 thru work and thought he was in the 1990′s!

(It was 1982.)

profitsbeard on September 5, 2007 at 7:30 PM

jdpaz on September 5, 2007 at 7:18 PM

That was the rumor, at least. Do we have independent confirmation?

amerpundit on September 5, 2007 at 7:30 PM

Oh, wait. There was a video. Wow…

amerpundit on September 5, 2007 at 7:31 PM

ameripundit-

Emphasis on

was

profitsbeard on September 5, 2007 at 7:33 PM

I wonder if the Zune will be the next on the chopping block?

Slublog on September 5, 2007 at 7:01 PM

Second generation is on the way.

Asher on September 5, 2007 at 7:33 PM

Well, I used to own a Franklin Brother, so now I feel, awful.

Kini on September 5, 2007 at 7:41 PM

The weird thing is that Toshiba’s Libretto, IBM’s Workpad Z50, the HP Jornada 850 etc had more functionality six or seven years ago. In fact the Jornada is almost a decade old and does more than this Foleo, you can probably find one on eBay for less than half the price. Albeit that the battery might be knackered (but then again I think some of those old Windows CE machines used rechargable AAs).

Apeking on September 5, 2007 at 7:41 PM

Bwahaha… nothing will ever beat my first “laptop”!

wccawa on September 5, 2007 at 7:46 PM

I guess my old Dell(that I’m using to type this)is obsolete,I mean it’s got that wifi stuff,and one of those…..whatcha mucallums? oh yeah a DVD player
Bob

Bobnormal on September 5, 2007 at 7:54 PM

This was my original computer. The Apple IIc also had an on/off switch, but once the keyboard jammed, the entire unit had to be tossed.

Hey, my Apple IIC got me through both undergrad and grad school. I still have it somewhere as it has a sweet spot in my heart.

My first computer with a hard drive was like WOW! This is amazing! Can’t remember if it was the Quadra or the first Mac.

/very first computer was a Commodore 64

Bob's Kid on September 5, 2007 at 7:56 PM

Maybe you guys have seen this already, but just in case you haven’t…one especially for you, AP.

Mike H on September 5, 2007 at 8:00 PM

/very first computer was a Commodore 64

Bob’s Kid on September 5, 2007 at 7:56 PM

I remember them. I had a DEC PDP-11/05

Kini on September 5, 2007 at 8:01 PM

I would pay a lot for a computer that had an on/off switch. I’ve spent north of 15 minutes some nights closing windows and manually shutting down processes to get my Win2000 installation to shut down successfully (and no, I’m not upgrading until I absolutely have to, because unlike the 3 trainwreck XP installations at my house, Win2000 absolutely never, ever crashes.) Add a three minute boot time in the morning, and the value of on/off just keeps climbing.

Laugh all you want, I’d trade every whizbang waste of time flashing gizmo in Vista for a computer that could turn on and off like a TV set.

a4g on September 5, 2007 at 8:01 PM

Oh, and if we’re competing for lamest first computer: here’s mine. 1Mz of pure processing power, with a staggering 4KB RAM, and a bitchin’ tape drive that could play my KISS cassettes, too.

a4g on September 5, 2007 at 8:10 PM

One-hit wonder

right2bright on September 5, 2007 at 8:15 PM

haha off

the next major development will either be voice recognition that works so you don’t have to have a keyboard (size restrictive), or it will be some sort of keyboard device with a paper-like screen that can extend and retract.

Another possibility is a keyboard (size restrictive) with a projector that can either project a hologram of the screen (3 or 2 dimensional) or just project it on a wall.

Anything less would not be that great of a leap. I still look forward to my flying car soon.

ThackerAgency on September 5, 2007 at 8:49 PM

I wonder if the Zune will be the next on the chopping block?

Slublog on September 5, 2007 at 7:01 PM

I’ll admit I own a Zune. It’s not sexy like an Ipod, but it plays music and videos on a larger screen than the Ipods. And I can fit it in my pocket. What more could you ask for?

Mallard T. Drake on September 5, 2007 at 8:49 PM

I suppose technically this wasn’t my first computer, but still, it was awesome

marc@hubsandspokes on September 5, 2007 at 8:55 PM

I should say – my family’s first computer…

marc@hubsandspokes on September 5, 2007 at 8:56 PM

So what’s the deal? They couldn’t pawn these POSs off on those kids in Africa.
For Christ’s sake you can buy a full blown lap top for 599.00.
Man, I smell a train wreck a comin’
LAME!!!!

TheSitRep on September 5, 2007 at 9:11 PM

Don’t laugh at the Sinclair; that was my first computer! Only spoiled kids got the IIc.

And, in all fairness, even though this product was doomed from the start, it’s not as though it was useless. It allowed you to use your Palm as a real(ish) computer, without that annoying (and, with more than two computers, problematic) synchronization step. It had a use. Just as did the Newton, the Internet appliance, and all sort of proprietary items that didn’t do enough for the price.

calbear on September 5, 2007 at 9:30 PM

As the owner of a laptop and a PDA, I have to say that it would be really nice if my laptop could boot up that quickly after putting it in standby mode. On the other hand, I don’t think that thing could play any really good games, unlike my own laptop. But this would’ve probably been a computer for work and study first and foremost anyway. Alas.

R. Waher on September 5, 2007 at 9:42 PM

It appears that there’s more to this than we thought:

Jeff Hawkins, co-founder and former head of Palm, revealed today that he is the love child of Marcel Duchamp, the late Dadaist and Surrealist. As startling as this news was to the technology industry, it did serve to explain the Foleo, which was canceled by Palm today.
Attempting to show the futility of modern electronics, Hawkins provided Palm with the Foleo, an obvious ready-made fabrication that any reasonable person would have immediately detected was a piece of performance art.
“Reporters kept asking me questions about it,” Hawkins said, “But they never penetrated beyond the mere futility of the device into the deeper artistic meaning.”
Hawkins’ father was one of the most prominent members of a loosely knit federation of Dada artists. And like his father, Hawkins said, no one understands his work either.
“How could you people not get this?” Hawkins asked. “I mean, look at that thing. It doesn’t make any sense. A laptop that’s a slave to a cell phone? It’s absurd.
“Absurd… ist.”

marc@hubsandspokes on September 5, 2007 at 10:06 PM

It could be worse. They could be a Sunnydale company.

BDavis on September 5, 2007 at 10:49 PM

I just hope it isn’t the end of doing his own product endorsements. You can’t make stuff like that up.

TexasDan on September 5, 2007 at 11:06 PM

I refuse to believe that it can only magnify the screen and keyboard of a cellphone! There must be more to it than that… this person would not have been able to tap into the cunning American venture capital market to raise millions of dollars for something that is so transparently useless to any first-grader. Surely this is obvious.

So tell me, what are the device’s sexual stimulation capabilities that are hidden in the advertisment? Please, reveal them to me and I will buy many, many of them, making all of us very rich. Please reply to this sincere plea.

drunyan8315 on September 5, 2007 at 11:43 PM

Lool. Gotta love the second clip.

emmaline1138 on September 5, 2007 at 11:48 PM

Should have called it a Wang.

profitsbeard on September 6, 2007 at 12:26 AM

First there was an Apple that used a cassette tape and hooked up to the TV.

Then there was a Commodore Colt (1989) this was pretty much the first IBM clone. It also hooked up to the TV, and had two 5 inch floppy drives. I inquired into a hard drive for it. It would take one, but no larger than 10mb. Yes, that’s 10 megabytes. Less than 10 3 inch floppies.

Then a 486sx. When I ordered it, it came with 1mg of RAM standard. Since Bill Gates’ “No one will ever need more than 640k conventional memory” was already obsolete, I splurged and ordered twice as much RAM. So 2mb RAM and a 345M harddrive.

Now it’s an “old” Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop with a DVD/CD-RW, a wide screen display, 80GB harddrive and 2GB of RAM.

This one didn’t cost much more than that old 486 with DOS 5 and 6 and Windows 3, and Lotus 123 v 4…

kimsch on September 6, 2007 at 12:28 AM

Oh man, I forgot the WANG with the orange letters… Multimate and DB2…

kimsch on September 6, 2007 at 12:31 AM

I guess you guys are just “youngsters” and don’t remember the magnifying glass accessory you could clamp to your 50′s era TV to enhance the size of the screen … This product sort of reminds me of that.

Now if you could fold the big screen/keyboard in eighths so it fits into your shirt pocket and looks/acts like a cellphone…you’d have the FOLDeo! …which would be only slightly obsolete compared to iPhone…

landlines on September 6, 2007 at 1:13 AM

My first and still my current laptop

Easy to use controls, but the memory is a goner if you drop it.

Captain Scarlet on September 6, 2007 at 2:27 AM

In the UK it was Sinclair all the way; the ZX Spectrum was the dominant machine, with 48k of memory, rubber keys, a tape machine etc. The C64 trailed second, because it was pricey, tied with the Amstrad CPC (obscure outside Europe).

“the next major development will either be voice recognition that works so you don’t have to have a keyboard (size restrictive)” – I wonder how that would work on a crowded train, though, or with kids shouting in the background. Perhaps the future is a keyboard that can detect your thoughts via electrical impulses from your fingertips, or sweat, or something.

Apeking on September 6, 2007 at 7:34 AM

I’ll admit I own a Zune. It’s not sexy like an Ipod, but it plays music and videos on a larger screen than the Ipods. And I can fit it in my pocket. What more could you ask for?

An iPod.

So what’s the deal? They couldn’t pawn these POSs off on those kids in Africa.

Too true. Like when you try to donate your old computer to the neighborhood school…it reminds me of The Simpsons episode where Homer was trying to return the trampoline and is greeted by Krusty wielding a shotgun: “You just keep right on driving.”

My first box was the mighty TI-99/4A.

saint kansas on September 6, 2007 at 9:07 AM

Reminds me of my first computer – Kaypro II
Those were the days my friend, and we thought they would never end.

Wuptdo on September 6, 2007 at 12:32 PM

Fold up the electronic Edsel, take a swig of “The New Coke” and then toss it like a frisbee.

I’m amazed no only that this thing ever got past the “What are you smoking?” stage of design and development, but that it took this long to kill.

But at least sanity prevailed in the end.

Spurius Ligustinus on September 6, 2007 at 1:43 PM

Couldn’t possible have anything to do with the Apple iPhone outselling all “Smart” phones in July? Nah.

Neo on September 6, 2007 at 2:33 PM