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palmOne's LifeDrive: A sign of Treo things to come?

As I wrote about a month ago, there have been persistent rumours that palmOne would be releasing a new device (sadly not a Treo) sporting, among others, a 4GB microdrive.  However, even though Amazon had recently even released pictures, it was not until yesterday that palmOne in a press release finally made news of this forthcoming 'LifeDrive' official and also outlined a new product strategy around specific customer needs.

I am absolutely delighted and incredibly excited to see palmOne finally entering the consumer electronics space - a move which combined with the ever growing success of our Treo undoubtedly heralds a new era for us and the company.  palmOne has defined devices in this new space 'Mobile Manager' and follows that of 'Handhelds' (Zire & Tungsten) and 'Smartphones' (our Treo).

Although no official specifications have yet been provided it is anticipated that the LifeDrive will feature:

  • Quickly drag and drop files from your PC onto your LifeDrive mobile manager.
  • Intel 416MHz XScale processor
  • Portrait and landscape viewing
  • 320x480 hi-resolution, color display
  • LifeDrive smart file management
  • 4GB microdrive
  • Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Pocket Tunes mp3 Player included
  • Price: $499
  • Some of you may recall that back in August last year, I had written a post about a future Treo Zen which bears an uncanny resemblance to the LifeDrive's specs (albeit without keyboard or wireless functionality) and now that palmOne is launching its first GB microdrive device I am much more hopeful that we might soon see similar functionality in our Treo.

    There are a few new things that may happen around the LifeDrive that I would undoubtedly also like to see in our future Treo.  For example, it is my understanding that palmOne's new multi-connector (currently found on our Treo 650 and the Tungsten T5) is actually designed to allow audio input/output (and video?).  Unfortunately, nobody has yet come up with an AV connector or cradle to exploit this with which one could theoretically:

    • directly connect a Treo/LifeDrive to a TV, monitor or projector for business presentations, to watch movies or view photo slideshows
    • listen to music connected directly to your stereo or another unit such as the 'Bose SoundDock for LifeDrive' mockup below
    • add a remote control for music, movie or presentation playback
    • attach a mini QWERTY keyboard!


    As I've mentioned before, it's been a while that I've abandoned the use of the iPod in favour of my Treo and have also not been attracted by other 'portable media players' since I watch movies and view photos directly on the Treo as well.  Now with the LifeDrive I am wondering to what extent it may be used as a Treo 'companion' if for no other reason than I would love to experience a 4GB drive, a large high-res screen and WiFi on my Treo today...

    UPDATE: After discussing this with a number of people over the last few days, I have also come to the conclusion that the LifeDrive should have been released with no less than a 20GB hard drive with which it could really and aggressively prove to be a challenger to the iPod and other portable media player. 

    At present it is undoubtedly a 'SuperPDA' but sadly that market is eroding.  Had it been designed as a 'SuperPMP' with the PDA functionality as a secondary feature it could have attracted a mob.  Overall, it is certainly a very good first attempt but it is likely going to be a niche player instead of the revolutionary new category that it could have been. 

    Treonauts are always driving the future...

    Posted by Andrew on May 10, 2005 at 09:04 AM

    Treo Opinion

    | Permalink


    by Cloudless | May 10, 2005 1:16:45 PM

    Instead of adding a harddisk, I would rather have a smaller/thinner Treo.

    by Andrew | May 10, 2005 1:30:43 PM


    I can't disagree with you. I believe that there is probably room for at least three Treo versions running simultaneously - one even thinner/lighter, one about the same as the Treo 650 and one larger with bigger screen, keyboard and a microdrive.

    Cheers, A.

    by Josh | May 10, 2005 3:26:52 PM

    Things keeping me from ditching my iPod for the Treo (as a media player):

    1) Free, integrated, and _easy to use_ software. RealPlayer doesn't cut it, TCMP is lacking a lot in the way of interface, and I'm not paying for pTunes on top of the hardware.
    1b) Good syncing software.

    2) The head phone jack. I'm too cheap to buy the P1 adapter and the RadioShack one is a total pain to use. The location means I can't really put the phone in my pocket when playing and the sound quality isn't nearly as good as the iPod.

    3) Lack of a hard drive.

    by Dr Uloff | May 10, 2005 5:40:06 PM

    Apparently Altec Lansing are releasing a speaker dock for the new P1 Multiconnector

    by Andrew | May 10, 2005 8:07:32 PM


    Worthwhile points indeed and there are many people for whom the Treo will never be an adequate replacement for their iPod. On your points:

    1) I can't yet say much on this front but I expect entertainment software to show significant improvements. TCPMP is still in Alpha so we need to give them a chance... Pocket Tunes will 'hopefully' come bundled on our next Treo...
    1b) Absolutely agree that this is critical.

    2) Also wish that they'd put the headphone jack at the top as I have exactly the same issue as you. However, I use a retractable 2.5mm headset which saves me from having to using the infamous P1 adapter...

    3) At the moment I have 2GB on the card but 4-8GB on board a future Treo would certainly be a nice improvement...

    Overall, no argument, the iPod is still the mp3 player to match and beat but there are other people like me who are looking for something else and have found happiness with their Treo.

    Cheers, A.

    by RC | Jun 29, 2005 10:19:18 PM

    I have the treo 600. Love it. Getting my wife a 650. Here is my problem. I bought the Altec Lansing iM4 Portable Audio System to use with the 600 (recommended at PalmOne). Whenever I plug the iM4 into the 600 with that little adaptor thingo, the sound comes out the phone and not to the external speaker unit. This is the second external speaker type I have tried with the same effect.

    The Treo is utterly multi-functional, now if I could just use it to spread some music throught the room.

    by bc | Nov 12, 2005 2:12:31 AM

    The best thing to do is keep the 650 design, but make it half the thickness...use XD insteady of SD if necessary...and reduce the antenna size...get rid of it if possible. Built in wifi too.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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