After months of no news or no good news, and just as I’m about to knock Palm news site 1src off my feeder, palmOne starts leaking details of their LifeDrive “mediacentric handheld.” Then somebody leaked the whole datasheet, and 1src was there with the deets.
Engadget was on the story the next day, and summarized as follows:
it’s 4.76 x 2.87 x 0.74 inches in size, weighs 6.8 ounces, runs on Palm OS Garnet 5.4, and has a 4GB mini hard drive, new LifeDrive mobile manager file management software, a 416MHz XScale processor, a 320 x 480, 65,000 color touch screen, Bluetooth, 802.11b WiFi, and an SDIO expansion card slot.
Of course I want one. I don’t have a good excuse, but I do. I’ve got a love-hate relationship with my Sony Clie TH-55 so I keep my eyes open for alternatives, even though I’m not sure what I’m looking for out there. I use my Clie to browse the web and check email at times that I don’t want to carry my PowerBook around, but the real killer app today is Earthcomber — detailed maps and location information that have kept me from getting lost since I started using it.
But the LifeDrive won’t do much the Clie TH-55 can’t now. It adds a BlueTooth, a faster CPU, and a hard drive, but BlueTooth is the only feature I find myself missing with the Clie. And the LifeDrive loses the camera I’ve come to enjoy, despite the lousy quality. Obviously, the resolution sucks, but the camera has become more useful than the numbers might suggest, and if the LifeDrive had one (though I’d wish for something that can do 1MP+ stills and 512×384+ video) I’d be adding it to my Amazon wishlist today.
The Treo 650 has a cheesy camera that matches the 640×480 still-photo resolution of the Clie, but beats the video by doing up to 320×240. Of course I want a Treo too, but I’m unlikely to carry both a big phone and a PDA-ish thing too. For some, the need for a smart phone is obvious, but I’ve got concerns about inviting my cell-phone provider into my life at that level. Verizon, et all, don’t want me installing my own applications on the Treo, using it as a BlueTooth modem, using WiFi, or interacting with my computer to synchronize contacts, etc without using airtime (if they can help it). Maybe I’d rather have a small, simple cell phone and a LifeDrive, and avoid the dumbness cell carriers demand of the smart phones they offer — the smart phone they expect me to buy and maintain service on.