Palm’s failed Foleo device(a device intended to give Treos a bigger keyboard and screen; more info at our sister site TamsPalm) has just been “revived” by an American company called Celio:
 Celio RedFly   Foleo for Windows Mobile smartphones

Their RedFly device links up to a Windows Mobile smartphone; and then allows you to run/control the currently running application using its integrated keyboard and 8inch 800×480 screen. The device connects via USB(charges the smartphone in the process) or Bluetooth; and runs on a custom “smartphone operating system”.

As of now, no information is available on when the machine will ship; some web sites claim an initial price point of 500$. Additionally, the “smartphone operating system” can be licensed – it could eventually be run on random laptop computers.

Compared to the Foleo, I feel that the RedFly has a lot more chance to survive on the market. First of all, it is almost completely independent of third party developers(who are even more unlikely to support another such device after the Foleo’s disastrous flop). Basically, if a driver is available for a smartphone; the phone can be used with the RedFly – and Celio seems to be willing to create these drivers itself.

The big issues I see here is the high price – 500$ is too much for such a “display addon”. Long-term marketing experience has taught that a device sets the maximum price for add-ons…and most smartphones are below the 500$ mark. Celio seems to be aware of this problem(and tries to migitate it by offering the software to third parties)…that could help them reduce device prices in the future(or offer a meaningful usage model for many UMPC users disappointed by the slow speed of their devices).

In the end, I would love to take a look at a RedFly – but only time will tell if it will prevail….

Last but not least, the spec sheet can be downloaded here.

P.s. In case you wish to read a few developer’s opinions on the Foleo – our sister site TamsPalm has that, too:

Related posts:

  1. Celio REDFLY – preordering starts
  2. Celio RedFly in action
  3. RedFLY goes software, “VGA card”
  4. Celio RedFly: spotted at MobilityToday
  5. Celio RedFLY now supports more handsets

6 Responses to “Celio RedFly – Foleo for Windows Mobile smartphones”

  1. But the foleo differed in that it wasn’t simply a “display addon,” it ran its own applications.

    Best Regards,
    Ryan Rix

  2. I read some thing about it not even having its own processor! Is that true?

  3. Hello,
    I am pretty sure that it must have a CPU of its own :) .

    Anyways, the question is not if it has a CPU – the question is if it can run programs developed by third parties…

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

  4. This sounds like a pretty interesting product. One of the Foleo’s biggest limitations was that it only ran apps under its own custom operating system, and thus forced Palm into the unenviable position of needing to recruit developers for a device with an installed base of zero units. This left obvious holes in the Foleo’s feature offerings (instant messaging, printing, etc) which made it difficult to promote as a well-rounded productivity tool.

    Being a passive slave device allows the RedFly to use the existing library of Windows Mobile software and not be tied to one platform when other drivers are written.

    It also keeps the RedFly from becoming yet another device with its own data to synchronize, backup, and secure, an issue we encountered when beta testing the Foleo. The Foleo only synced email with your phone, so in the end you’d have keep a second copy of all your data on it with no easy way to keep the two synchronized.

    The only bad side is that the price is still too high, especially for a unit that can be seen as less functional that even the Foleo, which was often criticized as being overpriced.

    Sadly, the Foleo probably could have filled this niche if Palm had simply written drivers to allow it to operate as a “dumb” slave to an existing smartphone. Then, the native apps on the device would not be absolutely necessary, and a few built-in apps–such as a web browser–could be seen solely as bonus functionality for when a phone was not available.

    Internally, I suspect the RedFly hardware is very similar to the Foleo, except perhaps with less memory. Using it primarily as a slaved peripheral is a new approach, however, and a path Palm chose not to follow. In hindsight, the Foleo took an in-between approach that probably doomed it; not enough standalone functionality to replace a laptop, and not enough phone integration to be a mobile companion.

  5. Hi Tex,
    thank you so much for your insightful comment!

    I just reposted it to TamsPalm :) .

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

  6. [...] RedFLY now supports more handsets By Tam Hanna People waiting for the Celio RedFLY will probably be happy to hear that the device is now compatible with even more smartphones and [...]

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