May 5, 2005 4:09 PM PDT

PalmOne hard-drive-based handheld on horizon

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PalmOne goes for flash with new Tungsten

April 13, 2005
PalmOne plans to announce later this month its first hard-drive-based product line, broadening its device portfolio and leading another trend in the handheld market.

The No. 1 handheld maker will introduce LifeDrive Mobile Manager on May 18, according to sources familiar with the company's plans. The $499 device will come with a 4GB Hitachi Microdrive and two flavors of wireless networking--Bluetooth and 802.11b Wi-Fi.

Combined with organizer features, the music-playing handheld could compete with Apple Computer's $199 4GB iPod Mini.

PalmOne is aiming to establish a new line of multimedia players featuring software for playing music and displaying pictures. LifeDrive will be a new line for PalmOne, but the hard drive may find its way into other products while carrying over the LifeDrive name, according to sources. Plans for such a move are still tentative.

PalmOne may be heading a new trend in the handheld industry with LifeDrive; Dell plans to release a hard-drive-based device in November, according to a source and enthusiast site Brighthand. Speculation on the features, dates and prices of the LifeDrive have been rampant on other fan sites such as PalmAddict and PalmInfocenter.

The new devices add to PalmOne's popular Treos--combination cell phone and organizer devices--and its traditional organizer lines, Zire and Tungsten. The company recently announced its $249 Tungsten E2 device, which comes with Bluetooth connectivity.

LifeDrive handhelds will be powered by a 416MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor and come with a 320-by-480-pixel color screen. It will not use handheld OS developer PalmSource's latest operating system, Cobalt, which is aimed at wireless devices. Instead, it will feature Garnet. Garnet includes support for wireless connections such as Bluetooth. Files can be transferred from a PC to a LifeDrive via a USB connection.

The device will be able to play music but will not come with RealNetworks' music software, but instead will use Pocket Tunes and sync with Real's Rhapsody music service, according to sources. It will also come with software called Camera Companion for transferring photos to and from the device.

6 comments

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No Competition
I really do not think this is going to be any competition to the IPOD (or any other real MP3 player for that matter). I tried using a Treo 600 as an MP3 player for a while but the main problem I found was battery life and the lack of desktop tools.

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Posted by shiperio (1 comment )
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Correct.
Palm has a mountain of problems it has to deal with before it can dream of taking on the MP3 players. iPod has to deal with a flood of cheaper units and such.

NWLB
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Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
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Not PDAs, Cellphones
The Palm won't kill Ipod, cellphones will. Sony's W800 comes with a 512mb card and 4gb cards, which are availble but cost $400 now will be $50 in five years: when YOUR TEN YEAR-OLD is 15 and wants a cell, camera and MP3 players. Convergence isn't for us old guys, but for todays 7-11 year-old. Nokia's N91 has a 4gb hd and 2mp camera with flash, autofocus and editing software. when today's 8 yr-old is 18 and off to college HE/SHE WON'T WANT to carry three devices but will want all three and since camera phones will be up to atleast 7mp by then there is no way the Ipod or digicam will survive.
Posted by cfj03 (19 comments )
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Convergence is real.
This will kill the iPod, in its current form. There will no longer be a music-only iPod after this year; there couldn't be. Why buy an overpriced MP3 player when you can get an Axim-killer that handles iPod mini duties as well? Look for more PDA/MP3 convergence in the future.

As for cellphone/MP3 convergence... kinda different. The number of radios in a cellphone is getting pretty large, adding WiFi is going to be a challenge, adding nav ability beyond a keypad is an even bigger challenge. The biggest is battery life: cellphones consume far more power than PDAs, so using your cellie to listen to Nellie might be nice, but it won't last as long.

-Remo
Posted by Remo_Williams (488 comments )
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Why the comparison?
How come everytime some manufacturer builds a hard drive into
a handheld it is hearalded as an "iPod Killer"? The iPod
phenomenon is more than a small hard drive. It's the elegant
user interface, iTunes jukebox and iTunes Music Store
combination that make Apple's product a jugernaut. You ask
anyone who wants to cut really well which knife they would
choose and the Swiss Army Knife will be pretty low on the list. I
rather carry three items that perform exceptionally well at their
designed task than a single unit full of compromises.
Posted by Greg Sparkman (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well Said ...
... but more importantly, why does the media, and the
"competition" only have the ability to focus on what Apple has
already done?! I cannot think of anything more stupid, than
thinking what Apple has produced is Apples goal. There are miles
and miles of road to go, and I guarantee you, Apple began scouting
that territory years, and continues to this day.

I guess the iPod killers, and such, will stay in the shadow of what
Apple has done, not what they are going to be doing.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
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