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Amazon.com leaks PalmOne LifeDrive info

Basic specs, nice pictures

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All the speculation surrounding PalmOne's much-rumoured LifeDrive aka Tungsten X aka LifeDrive (again) has achieved a level of legitimacy: the product as appeared on Amazon.com.

PalmOne LifeDrive Mobile ManagerspacerIt will be called the PalmOne LifeDrive Mobile Manager, and while the details are sparse - nothing beyond the basic specs really - there are a host of piccies of the PowerBook-styled aluminium-looking PDA.

spacerIt is due to ship on 18 May - a week on Wednesday - for $500.

spacerAs anticipated, the LDMM clearly builds on PalmOne's Tungsten T5, with its ability to operate as a USB Flash drive, allowing users to drag and drop files across rather than go through that tedious mucking about with HotSync conduits.

spacerThe unit itself is powered by a 416MHz Intel XScale CPU, and sports a 320 x 480 LCD that can be viewed in landscape as well as portrait mode, Amazon.com says. There's no reference to storage capacity, and whether LDMM contains a hard drive, 4GB or otherwise. The piccies reveal it does indeed integrate Wi-Fi wireless networking. It clearly runs the Palm OS.

Well, not quite. According to the page, it was posted not by PalmOne or Amazon.com, but by an affiliate seller. So the possibility remains that it's all nonsense. Certainly the units alleged dimensions: 16.3 x 16.3 x 10cm are wrong, simply on the basis of the half-a-dozen pictures included.

They suggest the device is not part of the Tungsten line-up after all, which implies PalmOne is creating a fourth brand alongside its Tungsten, Zire and Treo families. In turn, that would seem to indicate the company doesn't see LDMM as the next stage in the PDA's evolution: not a portable PIM, but a true personal data carrier. Think portable Home folder, but unlike simply copying it to an external hard drive or Flash unit, imagine having the ability to view and interact with data as well as take it from computer to computer.

The PDA has been struggling to find a role for itself between, on one side, music players like the iPod and video devices like Creative and iRiver's' PMC offerings, and, on the other, smart phones like... er... PalmOne's own Treo range.

LDMM seems a genuine attempt to lift the PDA above its PIM focus, and put the emphasis more on mass data storage than carrying select snippets of information with you.

Still, at the price, PalmOne is going to have a hard time convincing consumers they need a LifeDrive more than an 60GB iPod Photo. ®

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