Two Wows and a Yawn
I was wow'ed twice this week: First with Google Maps Street View, then with Microsoft Surface.
Street View is a fun little tool. It's got the fun factor that Google Earth did when it was released, where you could get lost for hours discovering little things all around the world. It also has some utility, where you could find the name of that restaurant you drove by today but can't seem to remember the name, and who knows what other things Google will be able to do with it.
I think Surface could have a huge impact on the way we compute. Then again, it could be another Origami. Either way, the videos of it floating around the web are impressive, but we'll have to see how often we'll come across one in our daily lives (especially when they're $5-10k and for businesses only). Once we can get one for the same price as a separate PC and coffee table, that's when it'll make an impact. At the very least, Surface looks cool and could be useful.
In contrast to those two is Palm's Foleo, which was announced today. The Foleo is a thin, 2 pound sub-notebook with a 10 inch screen. It runs a custom OS based on Linux and syncs to your Treo seamlessly. This is supposedly the answer to all those complaints that smartphone keyboards and screens are two small. What complaints? I haven't heard anything from the roughly 50 million smartphones shipped year to date. The reason why the Handheld PCs of the 90s failed and why UMPCs were slow to take off is the same reason why Foleo will fail: If it doesn't fit in your pocket, then "it" might as well be a full-featured notebook.
As Ars Technica put it, the Foleo is a 90s device that took a design note from 90s Apple notebooks (the logo on the lid is upside down when opened). What the hell is wjad?