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Palm Touts Mobile Mini-PC

Foleo, the PDA maker's new device, billed as a 'smartphone companion,' is set to launch this summer.



revealed its new device, Foleo, Wednesday, a small laptop-size gadget that is billed to act as a companion to a smartphone and to offer users a bigger screen to edit email, documents and offer Internet access while traveling.

The closely watched device, which was created by Palm co-founder Jeff Hawkins, was touted as a potentially significant third line of business for Palm, in addition to its mobile handsets and smartphones lines.

Palm expects to start selling Foleo this summer at a price of $499 after an introductory $100 rebate.

"Smartphones will be the most prevalent personal computers on the planet, ultimately able to do everything that desktop computers can do, but there are times when people need a large screen and full-size keyboard," said Hawkins in a statement. "As smartphones get smaller, this need increases and Foleo completes the picture."

The Foleo phone gives users a large 10-inch screen and full-size keyboard with which to view and edit email and office documents residing on a smartphone, said Palm.

Edits made on Foleo will automatically be reflected on its paired smartphone and vice versa. The device will weigh just 2.5 pounds and offer five hours of battery life.

The Foleo and its paired smartphone will stay synchronized throughout the day, or at the touch of a button. "The combination is for productivity-minded business people who want a more complete mobile solution for email, attachments and access to the Web," said Palm in a statement.

Its applications also include a full-screen Web browser, and editors or viewers for common business documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files.

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Foleo mobile companions will work with Palm's Treo smartphones. Smartphones based on operating systems from rivals

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can also be supported, said Palm.

Although designed primarily as a companion to a mobile phone, Foleo will have its own Linux-based operating system, built-in Wi-Fi radio, a USB port, video-out port, headphone jack and slots for SD and compact flash cards for memory expansion.

Shares of Palm were up 19 cents to $16.37 midday.