Update: According to a statement from a Palm executive, there is no truth to the rumor that the LifeDrive has gone out of production. Read more in this article.
There is a rumor going around the Web that Palm has stopped production of its LifeDrive Mobile Manager.
Many people have immediately jumped to the conclusion that this means Palm has abandoned the concept of a handheld with a built-in hard drive.
While it is, of course, possible that this is the case, it isn’t the most likely scenario.
No JIT Production Here
When someone orders a LifeDrive, Palm doesn’t call the factory and order a new one be made. Instead, it stockpiles units for a few months in advance.
Therefore, if this rumor is true and Palm has just stopped production on this model, it means it intends to continue selling this device for several more months.
A quick glance at at the calendar will show that October is three months from now, which is the month Palm almost always announces its new models.
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As further evidence, this company has on numerous occasions expressed support for the Mobile Manager concept.
Just this spring, Palm made a few guarded comments about a future LifeDrive to Brighthand‘s Brian Beeler.
This scenario fits in well with the way this company handles its other product lines. For example, it recently announced that it had stopped shipping Treo 650s to Europe because it already had enough there to meet demand until a replacement could debut this fall.
Based on these two two pieces of evidence, it’s more likely that Palm has stopped production of this handheld because it is preparing a new version, rather than dropping this product line.