Recently, Palm, Inc. announced it was no longer shipping the Treo 650 to Europe because this smartphone doesn’t comply with new rules regarding hazardous substances in electronic devices.
What wasn’t announced was that this also applies to the LifeDrive Mobile Manager.
Like the Treo 650, this handheld does not conform to the European Union’s new Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) rules, therefore Palm stopped shipping it to Europe as of July 1.
According to a company spokesperson, it is still perfectly legal to buy a LifeDrive anywhere in the E.U., but Palm can no longer bring new models in.
Palm could have continued to ship either of these models to Europe if it had made component changes to them, but it elected to not do so.
What Does This Mean?
It isn’t clear what the means for the future of the Mobile Manager category of handhelds.
When Palm announced that it was going to stop shipping the Treo 650 to Europe, it said it had already shipped a sufficient number of these smartphones to this continent to meet demand until a replacement device can hit the market.
Although Palm did not make a similar statement in regards to the LifeDrive, it should be kept in mind that the Treo announcement was extremely unusual, and basically amounted to pre-announcing a product months before it was to hit the market. This is something Palm resists doing whenever possible, as it tends to kill demand for the products it is currently offering.
Therefore, the fact that Palm didn’t say anything about a replacement for the current LifeDrive should not be taken as evidence that such a device isn’t in development.
Especially considering that this company has on several occasions expressed support for the Mobile Manager concept.