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« 2 Weeks 'til PalmSource DevCon 2005! | Main | The Right Tool For The Job »
Saturday
May072005

LifeDrive Leaked

amazon_lifedrive.jpgIt seems yesterday's news is confirming the rumors of the new palmOne LifeDrive or Tungsten X (take your pick). CNET's News.com has a detailed article about the new hard-drive equipped device, Gizmodo and Engadget both have tidbits, though I actually saw the LifeDrive image first over at Janet Tokerud's blog (you go Janet!).

The price is supposedly $500, which I wonder, is that a bit high? Ok, so you're getting an iPod mini and a Tungsten C plus bluetooth and a big screen in one package, but can those features be added up to reach $500?

You can pick up an iPod photo for around the same price, but you also get 60 gigs of space. The iPod mini's attraction is the moderately small size (compared to the iPod) and large drive for the size at $200. I dunno, I can see how they arrived at the price, but I'm still feeling it ought to be $399. Well, since it's not yet released, I guess we'll see in 11 days.

One interesting tidbit is the question of size. I'm not talking about the width and height, but the thickness of the LifeDrive. By packing a high-res color 320x480 screen, WiFi, Bluetooth, 4GB hard drive and a Palm OS device in a single package, I have to believe there must be one big honkin' battery to sustain it all. Will that mean the device is the size of a T3 but twice as thick? If so, how will that effect its portability?

Palm OS Garnet? What about Cobalt?
Another interesting tidbit — the LifeDrive will apparently on Palm OS Garnet (Palm OS 5) rather than Cobalt (Palm OS 6). I think it's coming up on 2 years since Cobalt was announced, yet no Palm OS licensee has actually produced a device. I keep hearing rumbles, but no devices.

PalmSource's announcement to move toward Linux with their purchase of China Mobile soft (CMS) is a potential disincentive to go Cobalt, though I have the feeling the larger reason device makers are sticking with Garnet is simple — Garnet costs less to license and they've invested tons of cash to tweak Garnet to suit their needs.

Will it Sell?
So, do I think the LifeDrive will sell? I think from the specs point of view it seems nearly everything a power-user could want (except maybe a 2nd SD card slot and Cobalt). Visually it seems within the Tungsten line (business like but not wild). I think $400 would be a better starting point than $500, though I do realize palmOne will still get a bunch of early-adopters to buy the thing at retail before they likely drop the price $100 in 6-9 months.

But mainly it depends on how well the LifeDrive performs. If it has dreadful battery life, well, then it will have some trouble (especially when compared to an iPod). I'm not sure compelling features will save it, if the battery life is short, because the primary uses — WiFi, MP3 and probably movies and TV — will demand that the device lasts long enough to watch a movie, a few TV shows or a few hours of web surfing. After all, great features can't be used if it poops out after 30 minutes.

If the LifeDrive is too thick (because of all the stuff crammed into the case) I think it might lose as well. Being pocketable is a key to a device like an iPod or Palm (at least is is for me and many others). If this thing is annoying to carry in a jeans pocket, it's going to have trouble as well. I'm hoping palmOne has already thought of these issues.

What do you all think?

Reader Comments (6)

Mike.I am going to have a hardtime not getting one.I am a sucker for the latest toys.Cheers
May 7, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterchinchorrero
Those are some interesting thoughts on the LifeDrive. I've been thinking a lot about whether I want one. My "carry it everywhere in my pocket" mentality means that I wouldn't buy a device unless it fits in my pocket reasonably comfortably without weighing down my pants too much. That includes with a case, if no solid flip cover is provided.

I think a lot of sales will come because LifeDrive will be the top of the line Palm model. But why there is no model with a keyboard other than the ancient T|C or the Treo is beyond me. That's certain to change, so I dread the thought of buying a LifeDrive and finding a clamshell like I really want on the market in a few months!

My biggest concern about switching to LifeDrive is that Pocket PC is good. I use a PPC right now, and it fits my needs better than any of the Palms, even though I only paid about $175 for it. Even so Palm is my sentimental favorite and I'm waiting for a device that I can live with. If I switch back to Palm it would really be for sentimental reasons because PPC really does the job for me now. And next week we'll find out more about Win Mobile 2005 when it is released. Maybe even with some new devices. If there's a clamshell that fits in my pocket, I'll buy it and Palm will have to wait.

I'm ready to buy as soon as a device tickles my fancy, whether Palm or PPC. I think a lot of people have a pent-up purchase desire due to the lack of inspiring devices. It will be interesting to see who wins my money. It might be PalmOne's LifeDrive when it comes out just because I'm tired of waiting. We'll see!
May 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBobR
The devil is in the details, of course, but it looks promising, basically what the underwhelming T5 should have been. I just hope they engineer a protective flap as good as the ones on the Palm V or the T3.

May 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterFazal Majid
Hey Mike. Thanks for your kind comments and link! And, I always enjoy seeing what you have to say about PDAs and journals and other things as well. Reading some of your thoughts, I was thinking -- now why didn't I think of that? It sure would be nicer at $399 instead of $499. They will indeed skim off the early adopters with money to burn, though. All the best, Janet
May 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Tokerud
Remeber that PAlmOne has always sold their handhelds a bit pricey. The best feature of this one is the memory... of course you can get an ipod with 60 gb, but you dont get all the other features of the PDA.If it is OS 5, we can kill ourselves (or PalmOne); why publicize an OS if you will not implement it in your next PDA?
May 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJesus
Jesus wrote:If it is OS 5, we can kill ourselves (or PalmOne); why publicize an OS if you will not implement it in your next PDA?

That would be because PalmOne didn't publicize anything. PalmSource is the one who dropped the ball on the OS. PalmOne isn't going to switch to a more expensive OS that they would then have to spend more money to tweak, when they could just use the one that they have used for a while for little extra cost.

Remember, PalmOne is a Hardware company, and PalmSource makes the OS. :)
May 9, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Johnson

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