Are Lapdocs the Future or Palm Foleo 2.0?
In May of 2007 Palm introduced the Foleo to a stunned public wondering why the need a device whose only purpose is to sync with their smartphone. Priced similar to a laptop – and with a similar form factor, the Foleo had only a fraction of the functionality and needed a separate device to be truly useful. I immediately explained I had no idea what the need for the gadget was. Less than four months later I along with a public – still mostly stunned, bid farewell to the discontinued gadget and Palm for its part said it would remember to do the market research before the product development in the future.
Now we see Motorola Mobility has a Lapdoc which is like a dumbed down Foleo containing just battery. The processing is done by the phone so think of the Lapdoc as the external screen and keyboard in a lightweight package. Currently it works with the Motorola Atrix 4G and CEO Sanjay Jha says the company will develop slimmer Lapdocs which will work with multiple phones so consumers can more easily watch movies or send long emails.
In a way the Lapdoc is the anticloud – it makes us more dependent on our phones. After all if you use a cloud-based app, you can access it with all your devices. Lapdoc forces you to have your phone plugged in to work properly. Your phone is the CPU and with all the horsepower these things pack such as dual-core 1GHz processors the concept does make some sense in select situations.
In fact if the tablet is cannibalizing the laptop and netbook market the Lapdoc –if successful will cannibalize the tablet market. In fact one wonders if we will see a TabDoc which will allow you to turn any smartphone into a tablet.
This new product concept is sure to be an important part of the discussion when the 4G community convenes at 4GWE, collocated with ITEXPO in Miami, Feb 2-4, 2011 in Miami.