LifeDrive Appears in Laptop Magazine

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Print magazines are regularly given access to handhelds months before they are released. This is because each issue has to go to a printer well before it reaches customers’ hands.

Before the magazines get an advance look at an upcoming device, they have to sign what’s called a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.

However, sometimes the timing doesn’t work out quite right and an issue mentioning a new handheld comes out before the official announcement.

Laptop Magazine This has just happened with palmOne’s LifeDrive Mobile Manager. The most recent issue of Laptop Magazine has a full-page article on palmOne’s upcoming high-end handheld (see picture at right).

It is only a brief, two-paragraph overview of this device, and doesn’t give any information about it that wasn’t included in previous rumors, but it should serve as confirmation for anyone who still harbors any doubts that this device is real and coming very soon.

Overview of the LifeDrive

The rumors say that the next high-end model from palmOne will run Palm OS Garnet on a 416 MHz XScale processor.

palmOne LifeDrive It is not clear at this point how much RAM this handheld will have; some sources have indicated 64 MB, others just 32 MB. The Laptop Magazine article does not say.

The LifeDrive will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 1.1 wireless networking. Of course it will come with a web browser and email application.

It will be slightly larger than palmOne’s latest high-end model, the Tungsten T5, but it won’t be as large as some rumors have indicated. The LifeDrive will be 4.7 inches tall, 2.8 inches wide, and 0.76 inches thick. It will weigh 6.8 ounces.

4 GB of Storage

The most significant feature of the LifeDrive, and the one from which it draws its name, will be its built-in Hitachi 4 GB miniature hard drive.

This model will support Drive Mode, so users can plug their handheld into the USB port on a desktop or laptop and have the microdrive appear as a removable drive.

The contents of the hard drive can automatically be synchronized with folders on a desktop computer.

It will also support USB 2.0, so transferring files onto the microdrive should be relatively quick.

It will include an SD card slot for additional, removable storage.

Multimedia Power

palmOne LifeDrive The LifeDrive will have a 320-by-480-pixel display that supports both portrait and landscape modes. It will offer full-screen video playback, and its hard drive will be able to store up to 8 hours of video, depending on how the movie is encoded.

Unlike most palmOne handhelds for the past several years, this model will not come with Real Networks’ RealPlayer. Instead, it will ship with a version of NormSoft’s Pocket Tunes that will be able to work with Real’s Rhapsody streaming music service. In addition, Pocket Tunes is able to play MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, and WAV files.

It will come with an application called Camera Companion that will allow users to easily pull the pictures off an SD card and copy them to its internal hard drive.

But it won’t be just a multimedia-oriented device. It will also come with DocumentsToGo, allowing it to work with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Acrobat files.

Pricing and Availability

Laptop Magazine isn’t the only one to jump the gun a bit. Amazon.com currently has a brief description and several pictures of this device.

This says the LifeDrive will be available on May 18 for $499.99.

Thanks to tritan for the tip.

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