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Palm's Foleo Delayed Until October, Analyst Reports

Word of the delay comes just weeks after Palm CEO Ed Colligan indicated that the new version of its core operating system has been pushed back to next year.
Putting another hitch into a product release that has already been roundly booed by critics, Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg put out a note Wednesday saying that Palm's new Foleo has been delayed.

"In a round of checks yesterday we learned that the Palm Foleo will be delayed," writes Goldberg.

Unveiled at the D conference hosted by Wall Street Journal personal technology reviewer Walt Mossberg in May, the Foleo has been touted by Palm as "a new category of mobile device." In a statement released prior to his onstage appearance, Palm founder Hawkins -- the inventor of the Palm Pilot and the Treo, two products that helped revolutionize handheld computing -- called the Foleo "the most exciting product I have ever worked on."

Initially priced at $500, the Foleo is essentially a Linux-based, large-screen companion device to the Treo, allowing users to create e-mails and edit documents using a 10-inch display and a full-sized keyboard. The new device, which weighs a relatively hefty 2.5 pounds, synchs automatically with the user's Treo, and includes a battery with up to five hours of life.

"The product was supposed to hit Palm stores this week, but was delayed when software bugs were detected," Goldberg added. "These apparently included an inability to synchronize the Foleo with most models of the Treo, in particular the nominally high-volume Treo 680. Our contacts indicate Palm now expects the device will ship in late September/early October."

Word of the Foleo delay comes just weeks after Palm CEO Ed Colligan indicated that the new version of its core operating system, which will be Linux-based, has been pushed back to "some time next year." A new OS is considered critical to the future of Palm, which has seen its flagship Treo device, along with its reputation for innovation, eclipsed by new models from rival vendors Research In Motion, Nokia, and Apple.

Palm's stock, which has lost almost a quarter of its value in the last five months, was essentially flat Wednesday.