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
"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:
To summarize the reviews:
"If youre looking for the ultimate in modern-day PDAs, then PalmOnes
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
"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
- 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
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
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
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.