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Old 05-18-2005, 01:19 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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LifeDrive from PalmOne Is Official!

It has been released. The official product page is at http://store.palmone.com/product/ind...ductId=1999092

There's excellent information at Palm Addicts, including a very nice editorial from Sammy. I don't remember him ever being this excited about a new Palm model, and his enthusiasm has just about got me sold on one.

PalmInfocenter has a very nice story on it.

1src is linking to a nice German review of LifeDrive. You'll need to use something like Altavista translation to read it in English.

Brighthand is not yet reporting about the LifeDrive, but will certainly have one of the most thorough reviews soon.

Cnet also has coverage.

This is breaking news, so I'm sure that this week will bring all kinds of additional information. One final note if you're ready to buy. PalmOne is offering free overnight shipping for those that just have to have one now!

If you get one, let us know what you think!
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Old 05-18-2005, 01:39 AM   #2
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More reviews are listed at Engadget. So far they have:
* DavesPDA
* BargainPDA
* Nexave (in German)
* MobileTechReview
* MSNBC
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Old 05-18-2005, 03:54 AM   #3
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Well, hm... I was really looking forward to the LifeDrive, but my enthusiasm is dampened now. The BargainPDA review mentions relative slowness and issues with memory access:

Quote:
One of the biggest adaptations to the Lifedrive is that it's slower than other Palm OS models. The snappy interface, long the hallmark of the Palm platform, has bowed to the necessities of having a built-in hard drive.
...
In the place where most devices would feature RAM, the Lifedrive offers an area labeled "program memory." While I've been unable to get an answer out of PalmOne's PR reps, I'm virtually certain that the "program memory" is actually a partition on the hard drive, rather than being solid-state flash memory, as on previous models. This means that whenever you load an application, you're activating the hard drive.
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Old 05-18-2005, 04:21 AM   #4
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Sorry but it looks like a brick. People compared PalmOne with Apple... this certainly cannot apply to design.
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Old 05-18-2005, 04:25 AM   #5
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I am reading the BargainPDA review right now, and one thing I really don't understand:
Quote:
Sometimes an application will come up quickly, sometimes it will take several seconds to load. The same goes for the application launcher. Documents To Go dragged a bit while loading a PalmOne press release included on the internal drive. The delays were longest when an application was searching for a file or files: 4 GB is a lot of space to search for a small machine, and it could sometimes take upwards of ten or twenty seconds to search the entire drive. Likewise, powering down is no longer an instantaneous operation. The period from the time that you hit the switch to the machine actually shutting off is usually 3-4 seconds. It still does instant-on, though.
Since when does the size of the harddrive relate to how much time is required to "find" or access files? That is where index tables (e.g. FAT tables) come into play. Sorry but the slowness of the Lifedrive can hardly be attributed to the size of its harddrive!
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Old 05-18-2005, 04:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorow
Sorry but it looks like a brick. People compared PalmOne with Apple... this certainly cannot apply to design.
I just finished reading Sam's editorial. From what he said the device looks bigger than it actually is. I guess holding it in your own hands could make a big difference.
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Old 05-18-2005, 06:48 AM   #7
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Different OS versions

I noticed BargainPDA's view is the most negative so far; they really talked about how slow it is. Most of the rest of the reviews are more positive and, while they mention it's a bit slower in places, they don't think it's a big deal.

What I noticed is that BargainPDA says their LifeDrive was using Garnet 5.4.0.something, while most everyone else says the OS version is 5.4.8. I wonder if BargainPDA's LD was loaded with older software, perhaps with debugging code enabled? I'm not sure (obviously; I don't have one!), but maybe that could account for some of the differing opinions on speed. Come to think of it, doesn't the T5 & Treo 650 come with 5.4.2? BargainPDA's device may have had a _very_ early beta OS on it.
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Old 05-18-2005, 04:11 PM   #8
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If anyone happens to buy one, we need to get the vendor_id and product_id from the device, so we can begin supporting it in OSX and Linux. You can get this with usbview(1) on Linux and similar tools on BSD.
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:50 AM   #9
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The InfoSync review also mentions the relative slowness due to the LD having to load applications from the harddrive. I had my mind set on buying one, but this breaks the deal for me. The most important features for me are the integrated WiFi and Hires+ screen. Hopefully, PalmOne will release a mid-range model (without the harddrive) in the future.
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Old 05-19-2005, 05:37 AM   #10
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Hmm, I don't understand why they would manufacture a PDA with a non-swappable battery!

This certainly disqualifies the machine from my list.
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Old 05-19-2005, 05:41 AM   #11
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Honestly I would still like to play with that toy. I am not happy about the slow loading, but having 4Gb of internal space sounds intriguing. Now that cheshire mentioned the non-swappable battery - how about the hard disk? Can it be swapped?
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Old 05-19-2005, 10:26 AM   #12
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I think the hard disk is mounted onboard, and doesn't seem to be removable too.

I wouldn't drop the device, especially when it's accessing the internal microdrive!
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