Palm Foleo

Can your phone also be your laptop? Motorola Atrix tries

January 5, 2011: 11:36 PM ET

Is the speedy dual-core CPU enough to act as a good netbook as well as a phone?

A few years ago Palm introduced the idea of using a smartphone as the brains of a netbook with their Foleo product.  The Foleo was a ARM-based netbook (though it actually pre-dated netbooks) that would sync itself with Palm Treos which would then send information to the Internet. At the time, Palm was in decline and the idea was panned by the press.  Palm, which was vulnerable at the time, scrapped the Foleo before it saw the light of day.

Fast forward to today.  Motorola (MMI) is trying the concept again with a bit of a twist.  The Foleo was a computer by itself and just synched with the Treo phone for connectivity. Motorola's phone is the computer.  The shell is just a screen, an extra battery and a keyboard/trackpad.  It is pretty svelte, perhaps the size of a MacBook Air.

Atrix shell via Motorola

The most powerful smartphone in the world (their words, not mine) is at the helm, a dual-core Nvidia-powered Atrix (née Olympus).  When you want to browse the web on a computer, you open up the Webtop app and either dock the phone behind the netbook exoskeleton or hook up to an external monitor and keyboard via HDMI and Bluetooth/USB... and you have a 'computer'. More

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