If Palm made a UMPC . . .

Palm_foldable_display

Would it look like this? (UPDATE: No, it would not. The Palm Foleo, announced on 05/30/07, looks like this.)

Palm has been teasing us about being engaged in a secret third business (the first two being PDAs and smartphones) related to mobile computing for nearly 18 months. If you haven’t been a part of the wild-goose chasing, it may be too late to join in because the bird, according to Palm CEO Ed Colligan, will be caught this year.

Exactly what the device will be is anyone’s guess, but thanks to Jeff Hawkins, the Palm Pilot and Treo creator and the brains behind this secret project, we can be sure that it will answer the questions he posed in 2005: "What are the implications of a world where everyone has a super high-speed Internet connection in their pocket and many gigabytes of storage, super-fast processors, audio, visual and multimedia? What are the consequences of that? How will that change computing when you have all that stuff available to you all the time?"

At the moment, Palm holds two patents, one titled "Compact palmtop computer system," for foldable displays (below: picture of clamshell device above in open position) and a trademark for the name "Foleo" (Serial #78555579).

Palm_foldable_display2

The drawings that accompany the patents leave much to be desired, I agree, but the concept is interesting.

With UMPCs and other handtops gaining ground this year, it is certainly not unreasonable to consider the possibility of Palm entering the market. Since it would be more likely for the (dual-screened?) device to run some iteration of the Garnet OS (rather than, say, Windows XP or Vista), I suppose it would compete more directly with the HTC Athena than the OQO Model 02. But considering how frequently they’re lumped together as comparable gadgets, exactly where Palm’s unit will be categorized is probably beside the point.

[PalmAddicts]
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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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