palmOne, Inc. today introduced the LifeDrive mobile manager. Designed for people with a significant volume of digital information, the LifeDrive mobile manager offers 4GB of hard-drive storage, a large 320×480 high-resolution color screen, and wireless access through built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies. Reviews here, here, here and here.
PalmOne LifeDrive Unveiled
2005-05-18 Wireless 36 Comments
why is no one using Palm OS 6?!?! it baffles me
The two answers given are here:
Scroll down and read the TWO articles “What’s wrong with Cobalt?“
A lot of nice features, but especially since it has Bluetooth, it would be nice to have Skype ported on it, so you could “hook up” a Bluetooth headset and Skype on the road. With this kind of device, I wouldn’t need a cellphone at all.
(Yes, I realize there’s still the need for internet access.)
My take on the LifeDrive after reading the review at BargainPDA:
1. Performance is worse than other models, as PalmOS doesn’t use any real RAM anymore, but a special partition off the drive.
2. The drive spins up a lot during usage, eating battery.
3. You can’t even watch a two-hour movie with it, as the battery drains out after 1,44 hours!
4. Sells for $500.
5. Its web browser sucks! AvantGo to the rescue I am afraid. I don’t understand why PalmOne didn’t use Netfront.
Conclusion: stay away from this model.
I can buy the dual wireless HP rx3115 for $300 and then buy a 1 GB SD card for another $50 and have enough money left to buy accessories if I want to.
I’ll stick with my Dell Axim x50v + 1gb SD Card thanks
6. It uses PalmOS 5.x.
As a long time Palm-fan (since the very first one came out) it hurts me to say that they’ve fallen way behind the PPC crowd these days. Not enough features, weak OS, and too expensive. THere’s more options, cheaper prices, better features among PPCs today and this thing is not going to help Palm much, especially not when flash cards are getting so cheap and capacity is rising.
well said Tarzan. PocketPCs are more powerful with good stability and they usually feature dual slots so people can buy the kind of flash cards they want in SD and CF formats. PalmOS lacks good multitasking, good multithreading, stability and support for 3D. And you can’t even install apps on the SD cards without using hacks, while WindowsMobile doesn’t care where your app is installed. It’s features like these that make the usability of a PDA better and PalmOS has seen very little evolution the last 3 years.
On the other hand, PalmOS has a kick ass Bluetooth/IrDA connection wizard/tools while on PocketPCs it’s a bit of a mystery how to get your PDA dial out.
Bah, since it doesn’t use OS6, it shouldn’t even be allowed to become a news item on this site! Shame on you, Palm.
I read the snippet on why Cobalt isn’t here yet from the link above, and noticed:
“The complete answer is a little more complicated. palmOne, for example, has invested a lot of time and money into custom APIs and other code to enhance Palm OS Garnet for their needs.”
So PalmOne admits to basically hacking their way around the shortcomings of the dinosaur OS4/5, and now they’ve dug a too deep pit to get out of.
Does anybody know if there’s a video clip out there that features Linux? That’ll be cool.
Actually, I once saw the video of “The curtain falls” by Blue and for some seconds there was a cup of coffee in picture with a Debian sign printed on it.
What I want is easy integration with everything else, once data are loaded on the computer.
Please include a set of Python modules for the desktop system to get data in and out of the .dat files.
MS Outlook’s COM interfaces make it much easier to work with, but I’d rather stay Palm.
I was a Palm early adopter. It was a cool toy for a while, but it got old with the POOR SYNCING and other annoyances. Palm kept building prettier boxes and never solved the fundamental issues with the platform. And PocketPC? Who wants to deal with more Microsoft crap? They have NO demonstrated expertise in OS usability. I think the whole PDA market is RIP. What will happen is that people who NEED PDA capabilities will be using hacked-up iPods.
Quoted from http://www.clieuk.co.uk/News_Archive/PalmNews-archive-8-4-2005.shtm… :
Look at Apple and Cocoa and MS and .NET: very few actually switched away from Carbon or Win32/VB.
Why? Because people don’t want to learn news things.
Cocoa is used by… how much? 90% of Macintosh developers? Let .NET appart. If developers have to stick with a horrible API, they will leave PalmOS. I would switch to other platform.
I think I agree that the new API thing is a bit of a red herring. Apple set up a very similar sitauation with cocoa/carbon/classic as PalmSource has created with (limited) backwards compatability in Cobalt. I think Apple showed it can work and that there are other reasons the switch is not happening. Getting nerds (and even nerd managers) to switch from a terrible API is not _that_ hard. Perhaps no-one likes the new one?
My personal guess is that PalmOne just won’t put the hours into software development. Either they don’t have the expertise, or they don’t think they need to. SDIO cards with no garnett drivers are a perfect example. Seems to me that this is a massive negative result of the split into PalmOne and PalmSource. The PalmSource guys could probably whip up the required code in (relatively) no time. Instead the PalmOne guys keep using Garnett.
I may be going against the geek crowd here, but I think Palm really needs to make this device more simple. I mean, I think you really have two options with PDAs– either you make it a mini laptop with a real OS and file manager installed so it’s a mini-laptop, or go make a really simple fool-proof interface and make it a fancy organizer.
I mean, I don’t really need 3rd party apps if it comes with a decent movie player, pdf viewer, address book and calendar. The WiFi only does me a little good, since I’m not willing to pay for a service. Hell, I barely need text input. So you make it simple, small, light, good screen, and interfaces well with desktop apps, and you’d have a winner.
But instead, Palm keeps playing this middle-game. They don’t want it to work like a computer, they don’t want you to have access to the hard drive as a hard drive (they want you to sync it), they don’t want to give you a file manager, but they also make it too damn complicated to be just an organizer. The end result is you have this almost-computer that you have to download a bunch of 3rd party applications to get it to do anything useful, and even then those 3rd party apps are total crap.
This device has what looks to be a simplified menu system, but the whole thing still isn’t simple enough, if you ask me. Palm should make up its mind and either make it more of a computer, like Microsoft seems to be doing, or make it more of a device, like an iPod. As it is, if I want a simple organize with music playback, I’ll get an iPod and use it’s calendar/contacts/notes. If I want a palm-top computer, I’d go with a PPC. If I want a cool gadget to screw around with and hack it into showing me a web page, I’ll get a PSP. If I want portable e-mail, I’ll get a blackberry. But what does Palm offer?
I really have no idea why they aren’t using the new OS, but I’ve wondered if it might be either the cause or the result of the split into PalmOne and PalmSource (or whatever they’re called). You have one group making the OS and another group making the device. Maybe the two groups don’t work well together?
RE:Still needs to be simpler.
I fully agree– you are right on.
Maybe it’s because of the split?
Palm, Inc is stupid. They believe Wintel is dominant because Win and “Tel” were separated at birth. Wintel is dominant IN SPITE OF this LIABILITY. ONE reason Apple’s products are SO good is because they don’t have to deal with this; they control the whole enchilada.
Very nice but I think I’ll spring for the sharp sl-c3000 to replace my aging palm IIIc instead. Even at twice the price it’s 5 times the pda. A display of only 320×240 and less than true color just doesn’t quite cut it anymore. I want a whole computer in my pocket now.
its a 320x480 screen. not 320×240
but yeah, those new zaurus pdas are *nice*. PalmOne is offering crap right now. They need to fix their line badly.
Everyone has their own personal preference on what they need in a portable device. Mine is that as a PDA it’s intended to be portable (meaning small and light weight), functional (wide arrange of software/hardware goodies) and offers current technology (Bluetooth, EDGE) in a nicely packaged design. I would rather purchase a PalmOne Treo 650 than the PalmOne LifeDrive. Reason is I would have more ability to do things while on the road, at the office, etc. Having the ability to use voice/data services globally with a wide range of tools at the users disposal is what manufacturers should be considering when building these devices.
1. GSM phone
2. built-in thumb keyboard (a la Blackberry or Treo)
Come to think about it, I would be happy with a Treo 650 with WiFi…
Regarding Cocoa; it is being used today, the difference is, it isn’t an all or nothing affair, you can mix and match things as required. Microsoft Office 2004 uses Cocoa for its GUI related stuff, and thus takes advantage of all the cool Quartz features. Applications will eventually get to 100% Cocoa state, but it’ll be a gradual transition.
As for PalmSource, IMHO, its going to a matter of moving heaven and earth to make their operating system up to the same level one expects an embedded one should operate. Embedded CPU’s are faster, memory is cheaper, and people are now demanding desktop-like features like multi-tasking etc. developers are now expecting the ability to multi-thread just like they would on a desktop operating system.
Personally, they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place; they can either embrace an opensource operating system of some sort – NetBSD/Linux/etc or license an existing embedded operating system like QNX or Lynx, and then plonk onto of it, a GUI that takes into account what people now want from their hand held device.
No camera and no phone and costs more than Treo. Its great you can watch a movie with a poor quality codec on a tiny screen.
You are actually wrong about the poor quality. A GOOD quality QVGA 2-hour movie takes less than 400 MBs of space using the DivX codec. Also, using the TCPMP media player (ex-Betaplayer) is able to run DivX very smoothly on any device above 200 Mhz at that resolution, so the LifeDrive can do it just that easily.
But I hear ya about the camera… There should have been a 1.3 MP camera in there (LifeDrive is not a business device at heart, so a camera wouldn’t hurt). But it would have made the device even bigger.
HI Eugenia. With that size screen DivX will be just fine but I don’t think it will have the battery life for a whole movie as was mentioned in one of the reviews.
This will be a tough sell for Palm competing with their own Treo650.
Yes, the battery life is a problem. However, if the movie is installed on the SD card instead, the LifeDrive can go beyond 2 hours of battery. But why put the movie in the SD card in the first place if you already have a 4 GB drive in there?
Personally, I would seriously think of suing PalmOne if you can’t playback a 2-hour movie through the LifeDrive’s microdrive with 100% LCD brightness (it apparently only does 1.45 hours). They toute the machine as a multimedia/video mobile entertainment system, it should deliver what it promises.
So now PalmOne is using a “heavily customized” version on Garnet. I thought that the whole purpose of the Palm split into PalmSource and PalmOne was for PalmSource to concentrate on OS design, and PalmOne to concentrate on the hardware. Why is the “hardware” company still doing OS development? It seems to me that the split was a screw-up for both companies. The “hardware” company is not just concentrating on hardware, and the “OS” company can’t sell its OS.
I used to be a huge Palm fan, but I also happen to be a power user, and Palm just sat still for too long while PocketPC devices kept innovating. I now have a Dell Axim X50v. It offers both CF and SD slots, WiFi and Bluetooth, VGA (480×640), and replaceable battery (amongst other things). I have a 1GB SD card and a 4GB Hitachi microdrive. I carry all the music I need, along with enough space for 2 movies. I encode my movies in XviD at VGA resolution, and they look really good. I so want all this goodness to be in the form of a Palm device and not Microsoft based PPC device, but Palm just couldn’t keep up.
What’s amazing to me is that my X50v can play a VGA XviD movie off my microdrive longer than this Palm unit can (and the X50v has less battery). However, for long movies, I just carry a spare battery and swap it out if needed. I got tired of Palm and Sony placing limits on me (no CF, or no WiFi, or memory stick only, or non replaceable batteries). Finally, I’m free to carry around something equivalent to a PC in my pocket. It does everything I need so well that I no longer have a laptop.
And we should not be forgetting the 3D card on the x50v either! 16 MBs of real graphics card and 624 Mhz of CPU. The Axim has so much more hardware in it and yet it is smaller. And it has smaller battery and yet it can stay longer alive than the LifeDrive can.
PalmOne just doesn’t get it that it ain’t 1999 anymore. They should have embrace newer hardware, PalmOS 6 and pay PalmSource to write an OpenGL stack for Xscale’s 2700G 3D card.
“If I want portable e-mail, I’ll get a blackberry. But what does Palm offer?”
Better portable email that doesn’t cost an arm and leg (and another limb a month). Chatteremail on a Treo 600 connecting to an IMAP server beats the crap out of Blackberry for functionality _and_ price. All the other nice stuff on Palm is just a bonus to me.
What in the heck am I going to do with 3D on my PDA? That’s what my PSP is for, ta.
>What in the heck am I going to do with 3D on my PDA? That’s what my PSP is for, ta.
Not everyone wants a PDA *AND* a PSP.
In a few years, I would personally even ditch any pda that is not also a phone. It has to do everything, in one single device. Why? Because that’s what technology is supposed to do for us.
Please use the corrent subject when reply btw.
Sure, mixing a phone and a PDA makes sense as they have converging functions (communication) and you can develop a consistent interface which improves both functions. You’re going to have to work very hard to convince me someone can make an interface that will manage phone calls, PDA functions _and_ decent gaming, though. Nokia didn’t pull it off yet and I don’t think Palm would be able to either. A well-designed games playing device looks like a PSP. A well-designed PDA looks like a Palm. Take a look at ’em next to each other and count the differences.
Yes i like the idea of a mini laptop, that is why my next
pda will be windows powered
> 5. Its web browser sucks! AvantGo to the rescue I am
> afraid. I don’t understand why PalmOne didn’t use Netfront.
Blazer is based on Netfront engine, in case you didn’t know.