PalmOne LifeDrive Is Born

PalmOne has taken the wraps off its latest PDA and Riyad Emeran was there to see it spring into Life.

I have to admit, over the past year or so I was starting to think that PalmOne had lost the plot slightly. I remember reviewing the Tungsten T5 and thinking that it was a beautifully built device, but was lacking some fundamental features, with the main omission being integrated WiFi. However, now I know that PalmOne hasn’t lost the plot, far from it in fact. Because today PalmOne has launched the most complete PDA solution that I’ve seen – aptly called the LifeDrive.

At a press briefing in London this morning, PalmOne showed off its new baby, and even jaded, cynical and generally disruptive journalists like yours truly couldn’t help but be impressed. So what makes the LifeDrive so special? Well part of the answer is in the name.

In this age of digital information, we’re always trying to have everything we need with us all the time. With this in mind, we’ve seen storage capacity increasing in PDA devices, with the Tungsten T5 sporting a massive 256MB of internal memory, along with an SD card slot for augmentation. However, the LifeDrive takes this concept one step further by integrating a 4GB Hitachi 1in hard disk into the device.

With this kind of capacity, the LifeDrive provides a multitude of features that other PDAs just can’t compete with. You’ve got masses of storage space for digital photos, movie files and music. For those of you that don’t want to carry an iPod around with you, but do feel the need to carry a PDA, the LifeDrive can give you access to a significant amount of music on the move, while still being a fully featured digital assistant.

PalmOne was also keen to push the “holiday digital photo” scenario, where you can offload your memory card to the LifeDrive and take more pictures. Of course you could take a notebook with you for this purpose, but why bother when you can carry a small LifeDrive instead.

It seems that I have constantly criticised PalmOne for a lack of integrated WiFi in its PDAs, but I’m very happy to say that this issue has been addressed with the LifeDrive. In fact you’ll find integrated WiFi, Bluetooth and infrared in the device, so connectivity shouldn’t be a problem.

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