Palm has created a new product, much different than its bread and butter PDAs – the LifeDrive mobile manager. A small, hand-held device with WiFi and bluetooth wireless connectivity, a 4GB hard disk and a 320×480 color screen. This device is NOT for everyone but can be an EXCELLENT asset to the executive that finds herself frequently in need of various data – including email, audio, video and other business files (presentations, word processed documents and etc).
LifeDrive competes, to varying degrees with iPods (you can store any data on an iPod), Migo, USB thumb drives.
“LifeDrive mobile manager comes at an inflection point in the market, when people are ready for more advanced devices that meet their growing mobile-computing needs,” said Ken Wirt, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for palmOne. “LifeDrive is versatile. For the business executive, it’s a personal mobile briefcase; for the photo enthusiast, it’s a camera companion.”
With LifeDrive, crucial documents can be set to update automatically at each HotSync(R) operation, and users can receive secure wireless email with attachments whenever they are within range of a Wi-Fi connection or by connecting via a compatible Bluetooth phone. People can even remotely retrieve Microsoft Office files left behind on the desktop computer.
Palms 4GB Hard Drive can store:
— 1,200 office documents;
— 6,000 emails;
— 1,000 photos;
— 300 songs;
— 2.5 hours of video;
— 50 voicemails;
— 10,000 contacts; and
— 10,000 appointments.
Stored information, media, files and documents are available at any time on the 320×480, high-resolution color screen, which can flip from landscape to portrait at the touch of a button.
With support for native Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat Reader, LifeDrive smart file management makes it easy for users to carry and access thousands of files. This innovative, new software system saves time, making it easier for a mobile professional to work efficiently while away from the office. The LifeDrive smart file management system comprises four key applications:
— Folder Sync — automatically updates selected files when syncing;
— File Transfer — drag and drop thousands of files from a PC onto
LifeDrive mobile manager;
— Drive Mode — behaves like a USB drive to easily transfer files
to any PC or Macintosh; and
— Files View — transferred folder structure remains intact, making
it easy to locate important information.
Flash memory keeps information safely intact, even if the device loses its charge, and 128-bit encryption keeps valuable data safely secure when invoked. Password protection safeguards access to the device, while the Private Records function protects specific files, even when the rest of the mobile manager is unlocked. An optional Intrusion Protection function erases all data and returns the device to factory settings after a user-specified number of failed break-ins.
Wirelessly Surfing with High-speed Connections
By connecting to any of the more than 80,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots in popular hotels, cafes and airports around the world, LifeDrive mobile manager users can do the following:
— access POP, IMAP and Exchange email accounts;
— download the latest calendar appointments from the office;
— retrieve documents from the desktop computer with the WiFile
— surf the web with the included web browser, which has been
optimized for mobile surfing.
palmOne is working with T-Mobile and I’m sure other vendors will come on board, o ensure a good hotspot experience for LifeDrive customers to access the world’s largest public Wi-Fi network. T-Mobile is providing a free 30-day trial offer for LifeDrive owners.
The device’s built-in Bluetooth can be used to connect to compatible Bluetooth devices nearby, allowing for wireless syncing with a Bluetooth laptop, wireless sending a document to a Bluetooth printer or hands-free dialing to a Bluetooth phone.
Mobile Multimedia and Expansion
While on the go, LifeDrive mobile manager users can enjoy listening to songs from their personal music collection, viewing photos or watching video clips. To highlight the music capabilities of LifeDrive, RealNetworks is giving LifeDrive customers free access to its Rhapsody client, which they can use to manage their personal music collections. RealNetworks is offering a 30-day free trial of its award-winning Rhapsody music service, providing unlimited access to more than 1 million songs on their PCs. In the coming months, subscribers also will be able to use the Rhapsody To Go service to download and transfer an unlimited amount of their favorite music to their LifeDrive and enjoy it wherever they go as long as they are subscribed to the service.
The built-in voice recorder allows for hands-free notes or personal narrations to accompany photo slideshows. Users of the LifeDrive mobile manager will enjoy fast performance for business and multimedia applications, thanks to the 416MHz Intel XScale processor.
The expansion card slot, which supports SD, SDIO and MultiMediaCard formats, makes it easy to transform the LifeDrive mobile manager into a camera companion. Instead of bringing a laptop on vacation, users can simply download images from the camera’s SD memory card onto the LifeDrive mobile manager(3) to free up the card for more photos and enjoy photos on a larger screen.
LifeDrive includes a special version of Addit software, which provides users with on-the-go access to tips and tricks, new articles and software updates. Addit also will showcase advanced software applications that add value and functionality for the user, such as photo editing on the go and players to support streaming media.
Pricing and Availability
The LifeDrive mobile manager from palmOne has an estimated U.S. street price of $499. Limited quantities are available now from the palmOne online store (http://store.palmone.com/) and select retail stores worldwide. Volume availability is expected by early June.