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palmOne's LifeDrive announced

Wed May 18, 2005 - 9:16 AM EDT - By Marcus Adolfsson

palmOne today announced their first Mobile Manager product, the LifeDrive. The question on minds of Treo fans - when will the LifeDrive technology find itself inside a Treo?

The LifeDrive mobile manager offers 4GB of hard-drive storage (3.85GB user available), a large 320x480 high-resolution color screen, and wireless access through built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies. The bundled software includes much improved multimedia support, and ability to sync important files with your desktop effortlessly.

"LifeDrive mobile manager comes at an inflection point in the market, when people are ready for more advanced devices that meet their growing mobile-computing needs," said Ken Wirt, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for palmOne. "LifeDrive is versatile. For the business executive, it's a personal mobile briefcase; for the photo enthusiast, it's a camera companion."

Below are some reviews of the Life Drive:

  • DavesPDA
  • BargainPDA
  • MobileTechReview
  • PocketFactory
  • CNET
  • PC Magazine
  • To summarize the reviews:

    "If you�re looking for the ultimate in modern-day PDAs, then PalmOne�s LifeDrive has to be at the top of your shortlist. Now, if it could only make and receive phone calls ..." - MSNBC

    "Nearly-endless storage makes this a great device for toting and viewing lots of files. Vast storage; big screen; excellent desktop and handheld software suite. Expensive; battery not user-replaceable; Web pages slow to load; battery life and audio quality not up to par with today's MP3 players; sluggish; slightly heavy." - PC World

    "There isn't too much the PalmOne LifeDrive can't do with its integrated hard drive, its wireless connectivity, and its multimedia capabilities, but it's way too expensive." - Cnet

    "So far I'm pretty impressed with this product. It's certainly the most innovative product to come from palmOne since...well, the Treo 650!"- Pocket Factory

    "A bold new offering, that goes for a different kind of convergence. Rather than meshing a phone with a PDA, the LifeDrive merges the PDA, hard disk-based MP3 player, photo viewer and portable video player into one machine. The name LifeDrive says it all: a device with a hard drive that's a part of your lifestyle (we're not sure that Mobile Manager says much of anything). Of course it will help you keep track of your contacts, appointments and tasks too, and you can use it to access the Internet and work with MS Office documents. Add in integrated WiFi 801.11b and Bluetooth and you've got quite a package for $499." - MobileTech Review

    "The biggest feature of the Lifedrive, the 4 GB internal hard drive, is a mixed blessing. I love the huge storage capability, which offers a lot of different options. But the performance hit in both speed and battery life is disappointing. Still, if you want major storage, this is the only way to go on Palm OS. The pricetag for the Lifedrive is also rather high for some of the features--you could literally buy a dual wireless PocketPC for half the price of a Lifedrive, and still have money left over for a 4 GB solid-state flash memory card." - Bargain PDA

    Inside the 4GB Hard Drive

    The 4GB Hitachi Microdrive weighs less than a AA battery, is smaller than a matchbook and transfers data 30 percent faster than the previous-generation Microdrive, so users can get to their music, pictures, data more quickly. With 3.85GB of usable storage, LifeDrive mobile manager users can store and access all of the following on a single device:

    • 1,200 office documents
    • 6,000 emails
    • 1,000 photos
    • 300 songs
    • 2.5 hours of video
    • 50 voicemails
    • 10,000 contacts
    • 10,000 appointments

    Stored information, media, files and documents are available at any time on the 320x480, high-resolution color screen, which can flip from landscape to portrait at the touch of a button.

    Access to Office Files and Folders, Quickly and Securely

    With support for native Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat Reader, LifeDrive smart file management makes it easy for users to carry and access thousands of files. This innovative, new software system saves time, making it easier for a mobile professional to work efficiently while away from the office. The LifeDrive smart file management system comprises four key applications:

    • Folder Sync -- automatically updates selected files when syncing (even over WiFi);
    • File Transfer -- drag and drop thousands of files from a PC onto LifeDrive mobile manager
    • Drive Mode -- behaves like a USB drive to easily transfer files to any PC or Macintosh; and
    • iles View -- transferred folder structure remains intact, making it easy to locate important information.

    Flash memory keeps information safely intact, even if the device loses its charge, and 128-bit encryption keeps valuable data safely secure when invoked. Password protection safeguards access to the device, while the Private Records function protects specific files, even when the rest of the mobile manager is unlocked. An optional Intrusion Protection function erases all data and returns the device to factory settings after a user-specified number of failed break-ins.

    Wirelessly Surfing with High-speed Connections

    By connecting to any of the more than 80,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots in popular hotels, cafes and airports around the world, LifeDrive mobile manager users can do the following:

    • Access POP, IMAP and Exchange email accounts;
    • Download the latest calendar appointments from the office;
    • Retrieve documents from the desktop computer with the WiFile software
    • Surf the web with the included web browser, which has been optimized for mobile surfing.

    palmOne is working with T-Mobile to ensure a good hotspot experience for LifeDrive customers to access the world's largest public Wi-Fi network. T-Mobile is providing a free 30-day trial offer for LifeDrive owners.

    The device's built-in Bluetooth can be used to connect to compatible Bluetooth devices nearby, allowing for wireless syncing with a Bluetooth laptop, wireless sending a document to a Bluetooth printer or hands-free dialing to a Bluetooth phone.

    Mobile Multimedia and Expansion

    While on the go, LifeDrive mobile manager users can enjoy listening to songs from their personal music collection, viewing photos or watching video clips. To highlight the music capabilities of LifeDrive, RealNetworks is giving LifeDrive customers free access to its Rhapsody client, which they can use to manage their personal music collections. RealNetworks is offering a 30-day free trial of its award-winning Rhapsody music service, providing unlimited access to more than 1 million songs on their PCs. In the coming months, subscribers also will be able to use the Rhapsody To Go service to download and transfer an unlimited amount of their favorite music to their LifeDrive and enjoy it wherever they go as long as they are subscribed to the service.

    The built-in voice recorder allows for hands-free notes or personal narrations to accompany photo slideshows. Users of the LifeDrive mobile manager will enjoy fast performance for business and multimedia applications, thanks to the 416MHz Intel XScale processor.

    The expansion card slot, which supports SD, SDIO and MultiMediaCard formats, makes it easy to transform the LifeDrive mobile manager into a camera companion. Instead of bringing a laptop on vacation, users can simply download images from the camera's SD memory card onto the LifeDrive mobile manager to free up the card for more photos and enjoy photos on a larger screen.

    LifeDrive includes a special version of Addit software, which provides users with on-the-go access to tips and tricks, new articles and software updates. Addit also will showcase advanced software applications that add value and functionality for the user, such as photo editing on the go and players to support streaming media.

    Pricing and Availability

    The LifeDrive mobile manager from palmOne has an estimated U.S. street price of $499. Limited quantities are available now from the palmOne online store and select retail stores worldwide. Volume availability is expected by early June.

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