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i-mate Smartphone Shell To Go Where No Foleo Has Gone Before

i-mateBy Evan Ackerman

Remember the Palm Foleo? No? That’s okay, it was never actually manufactured, but it was supposed to be a smartphone accessory that would supplement your phone with (among other things) a 10″ screen and a full keyboard. Palm canned the idea last month, but i-mate is trying to develop nearly the same thing. They’re planning to introduce a “shell” that will provide their Ultimate line of smartphones with a 1024×768 display, a keyboard, and an 80 hour battery. I should probably mention that 80 hours of battery life seems pretty darn optimistic for a 1024×768 display, and the site reporting this (Ubergizmo) doesn’t cite any source. So, take it with a grain of salt or five… My guess is that it’s a typo and they meant 8, but I’d love to be wrong. The shell is rumored to cost around $300, with the smartphones starting at $600.

A lot of people (including Palm, perhaps) thought that the Foleo was a lousy idea, since it was as large as a small laptop without offering the same functionality. Personally, I’ve been looking for something portable with a decently sized screen and keyboard that I can use exclusively for internet, email, and displaying pictures and the occasional video. My only criteria are a pricetag of under $800 and a reliable battery life of over 4 hours, and the best I can do is a 15″ Dell Vostro that weighs 6.3 pounds. I think there is certainly a niche for an accessory that solves the two major problems with phones (tiny screen, tiny keyboard) with an appropriately tiny form factor and price, especially since more and more can be done using the internet as a virtual processor (i.e. Google Docs). Meh, maybe I’ll just wait for the Asus Eee to show up.

VIA [ Ubergizmo ]








  • Lauris

    I’ve been looking for the same thing in a laptop, Take a look at the toshiba portege r100 it’s about the size of a sheet of paper, and gets good batt life. Usually less than 400 on eBay.