According to PalmInfoCenter, the long-expected EOL’ing of the Palm LifeDrive has just happened. The LifeDrive was a significant development for (Palm powered) PDA’s, I originally wanted to buy it when it first leaked. However, the final version had a few lethal quirks – this obituary is my personal ‘goodbye’ to the LifeDrive.

The LifeDrive was a great idea, but it was hampered by the catastrophic implementation(which had no reason whatsoever). Palm’s experience with the Tungsten T5 showed that users accept “internal external VFS” memory. The LifeDrive was originally rumored to ship with 32MB of RAM and a 4GB internal VFS partition – which was a useful and good idea.

However, Palm decided to go the ‘cheap’ route and decided to use a hard drive as RAM replacement media(!!!). Palm probably didn’t expect the harsh reaction, but the prototyping phase should have clarified matters.

But the LifeDrive concept wasn’t dead when the LifeDrive 1 shipped – first generation products often have eekers that get fixed over time. Hitachi ‘leaked’ information on Palm’s plans to release a second LifeDrive with 6GB of internal memory, and when the 4GB CF card mod came out, Palm should have finally accepted that internal hard drives are not a good RAM replacement.

By this time, however, Palm probably had already given up on the LifeDrive market segment – their not-releasing of the Wifi patch for LifeDrive(while it was available for Palm TX) showed that they didn’t really care about the LifeDrive’s fate anymore.

If Palm still has a LifeDrive2 ready for release, it will still make a nice PDA – if the hdd lag problems have been fixed. It will, however, be no longer a novel and unique item…Palm lost this opportunity back in 2005!

P.s. I wouldn’t wonder if the LifeDrive gets covered inn the third edition of in Search of Stupidity – review of the second edition(without LifeDrive) coming soon!

Related posts:

  1. LifeDrive-what could have happened
  2. PowerDrive — Give your LifeDrive a Few Extra Gigs
  3. Sony Ericsson goes LifeDrive
  4. Teaching an old LifeDrive new tricks
  5. LifeDrive camera connector is here

6 Responses to “LifeDrive – the obituary”

  1. The LifeDrive HAS 32 MB of RAM = DBCache, dyn heap, decompressed ROM and all that stuff.

  2. If this is true then it is a sad thing. I own and am able to rely on a LifeDrive to handle a lot of my data needs while on the run. I have also had an issue with the reviews that complaints about the hard drive lag. Not that it’s not there, but I feel that a slight wait is a small price to pay for so much storage space.

    Would I like to see some improvements, sure, but I have found it to be a great hand held and another device would have to be pretty special to get me to change now.

    I hope that this not the end of the line for the line.

  3. Hi Folks,
    indeed, the LifeDrive was a promising concept and a great idea – but Palms execution took away much of the greatness(just ads the first MP3 player was a great idea, but the execution was flawed)…

    I am not sure if we will ever see a successor of the machine, but who knows!

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

  4. I own a LD, and I’m very happy with it.

    I agree that he HD lag is annoying, but not THAT annoying. I just can’t use most PDAs nowadays (WM, this is for you) due the crashes and loss of data.

    However, Palm could do a better job on it. The LD as a MP3 player sucks, unless you use a SD – the HD access is made with pooled I/O (for sure), not by interrupts. This demands the CPU to wait the HD (insted to be notified when the HD is ready), leading to gaps in music play that is absolutelly unacceptable.

  5. Hi,
    beeing honest – my ipaq does a pretty good job :) .

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

  6. I struggled with an o2 (T-Mobile) XDA for too long and eventually got rid of it. Palm is by far the better OS.

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