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« Calling DevCon Bloggers! | Main | 2 Weeks 'til PalmSource DevCon 2005! »
Wednesday
May182005

LifeDrive Launched

amazon_lifedrive.jpgLast week I wrote on the LifeDrive being leaked; this week the LifeDrive has been launched. I thought I'd log a few first impressions:

It's a Brick
Man, this thing is a brick! at 4.76 tall x 2.87 wide x 0.75 thick. To put that in perspective, it's as wide as my Moleskine, a little taller and about twice as thick. I love my Moleskine but it's nowhere near as pocketable as my Zire.

My gut says this size issue going to be an issue for folks that intend to carry one of these in a pocket, because not only is it too wide for a pocket, it's a bit too thick. I think an iPod is about the maximum volume to be pocketable, trading off its thickness by its narrower width. Unfortunately, the LifeDrive seems too big in all directions. It does have a rounded back which may help, still, 3/4" is pretty thick.

OK, I'll give a little benefit of the doubt 'til I see one next week at DevCon. Maybe I can be convinced otherwise in person.

WiFi & Bluetooth
Good to see this, though wireless capability now seems like a basic requirement. Interesting that they've chosen 802.11b over 802.11g — probably for less battery draw and lower cost. I hope all future mid-level and upward palmOne devices have both wireless capabilities built in.

My friend Hal had a great idea today: what if the LifeDrive could be set to automatically mount on a your authorized computer via WiFi, just like a USB drive? That'd be very handy indeed. Hey Florent, can you make Sync Buddy do this? :-)

Hard Drive
I think this is inevitable with the size of stuff people want to carry along. Music, Podcasts, TV and movies, not to mention RSS feeds, email, documents, etc. For a Palm OS device a drive is a big step, even if the iPod mini has had one for quite a while now. I expect to see more drive-based devices, though with RAM at low prices, a 1GB RAM handheld seems quite normal in my opinion.

Battery
The spec sheet lists that the drive can hold 2.5 hours of video but there seems to be no mention anywhere of an expected battery life. You'd guess at least 2.5 hours of life to watch that 2.5 hours of video. Should be interesting to see what real-world battery life turns out to be. I hope it's longer than expected, but generally the one flaw of all mobile devices are their short battery lives.

Overall I think the LifeDrive is a nice device, though I have worries about its size and battery life. If the casing feels smaller than it looks in the specs and the battery life is a bit better than anticipated, I think it may do decently.

Once I have a peek at one at DevCon next week I'll be sure to post my thoughts.

Okay, thanks to Craig, here's a list of reviews:

The Gadgeteer
Brighthand
Palm Infocenter
PDA Geek
InfoSyncWorld

Have fun!

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