PalmOne LifeDrive ups the ante on PDAs


LifedriveI have to admit I don’t write a lot about Palm PDAs which is more a function of not using them than thinking there is anything wrong with the Palm OS.  I used a Palm XV years ago and it was a solid performing PDA and I quite enjoyed it.  Having been firmly in the Windows Mobile camp for some time now I usually write about those since I am more familiar with them.  The recently released PalmOne LifeDrive could change all that since it ushers in a new era for PDAs with the inclusion of an internal hard drive.  The Sharp Zaurus SL-C3000 was the first hard drive enabled PDA to appear but only in Japan so the LifeDrive brings the functionality to users elsewhere.

The LifeDrive is an impressive looking device and is an attempt to provide a rich customer experience that adds multimedia capabilities to a solid PDA base.  The LifeDrive weighs only 6.8 ounces yet has a good feature set that should satisfy any user.  The basic specs- 416MHz XScale processor; 65MB of RAM; 4GB hard drive; 480 x 320-pixel, 3.9-inch TFT; SD slot; 802.11b; Bluetooth; plays MPEG and AVI video; plays MP3 audio; Palm OS 5.4.

The PalmOne LifeDrive has a retail price of $499 which puts it firmly in the category of high-end PDAs but with all the features packed in the little device it may very well prove to be a big seller.



One of the attractive things about this model is its ability to save Word, Excel, and PPT documents in native format. Older Palms would convert them to a simpler format to save space, but with the hard drive that’s not an issue. You can email them or open received attachments. Very impressive.

I guess it apparently doesn’t have true multitasking, but you can listen to music and do other functions. With Wifi and Bluetooth, this looks like a knock-out piece of work.


I think that selling a highend PDA without at least a VGA screen and a multitasking OS in 2005 is not the best way for Palm to regain market share. I was a Newton and later Palm user nearly since day one, and the Palm Treo650, that I am using to type and post this comment is one of my most essential eletronic gadgets. But the more I look into PocketPCs, especially the new ones with VGA screens, the more I like them, especially hardware wise. If Palm would have used PalmOS6, which finally will bring multitasking to PalmOS and at least a VGA screen, I would have bought one in an instant. Now I just wait for the MDA4 to arrive (UMTS, WLAN, Bluetooth, keyboard, VGA, SIP & Skype…) and just keep my Treo650 as a great phone.

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