Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Palm Foleo, great concept but is it really the right execution ?

The Foleo seems to be a great concept.
Is it really innovative and will it help to get Palm back to success ?
Palm is currently under pressure and is loosing market shares. The recent introduction of the Palm Treo on a windows based OS was already a major shift in Palm strategy. Will Foleo bring new success to the company ?

One would probably be impressed by the Foleo concept if you go to the Palm website and check their product demo.

It seems to be the ideal solution for everyone who is looking for a way to stay connected through emails and internet. The Foleo has a comfortable screen, large enough to ease reading and surfing, it comes with a real keyboard, it can download Office files, it is very light, it has a long battery life, it is embedded with wireless technologies and can boot up instantly thanks to the flash memory storage.

However, despite it seems to be the ideal travel companion, the Foleo fails to really convince about its concept on several points :
- No touch screen
- No simcard embedded
- Expensive price
- Positioning does not answer totally its target audience needs

Let's review some scenarios :

1) Businemen
Business travellers are already equipped with a laptop, most probably a light unit (up to 14") and a email enabled mobile phone. It is unlikely that they will sacrifice their phone or their laptops to the Foleo. It is difficult to believe they will as well carry a third mobile unit.

2) Students
Most of students nowadays carry a mid range laptop, a phone with multimedia capability. They might be attracted by the Foleo promises. However, it is unlikely they could afford a Foleo that cost almost the same price as a second hand laptop.

3) Family
The Foleo could be considered as well as an Home product, to surf internet and check emails easily. However, the price of this unit would probably turned down most of purchase intentions.

It is difficult at this point of time to predict a great success to the Foleo. We might expect this product to be succesful to a limited audience, fan of mobility, high tech, with high income.

The Foleo failed to convince that it really answer the consumer needs. It would have been interested to add a simcard chip and of course to lower its price positioning.

However, we have to acknowledge that the Foleo shows a new trend on mobile computing and could hope that future product will really answer consumer needs. Let's recognize Palm efforts to try to break in that new segment.

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