Mobile Manager Breaks Cover

PalmOne unveiled its much-anticipated LifeDrive, a mobile device the company says is the first in a newly created category of devices it calls the mobile manager. The PDA-plus drew considerable attention after inadvertently offered it for sale in its Web catalog earlier this month.

The LifeDrive has a built-in 4 GB hard drive and is aimed at mobile workers and consumers who need to store a significant volume of digital information, the company says. The device also features a 320 x 480 resolution color screen and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. It can be used to carry documents, send and receive e-mail, access the Web and store and playback personalized entertainment such as MP3s and home videos.

Access to the device’s features and data is protected by encryption and a private records function that protects individual filers and folders. Flash memory is used to store data in the event the device’s battery dies. An expansion card slot supports SD, SDIO and MultiMediaCard formats. An optional intrusion protection function erases all data and returns the device to its factory settings after a user-specified number of failed attempts to access the device.

LifeDrive also has support for native Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat Reader, along with a file management system to synch folders, drag and drop files and similar operations.

With wireless access, end users can access POP, IMAP and Exchange e-mail accounts; update their calendars; retrieve documents from their desktop PCs, using a WiFile app; and surf the Web using a browser optimized for mobile surfing.

The LifeDrive has an estimated U.S. street price of $499. Limited quantities are available now from palmOne and some retail stores. The company says the device will be available in volume next month.

PDA Verticals, a solution provider that targets mobile professionals in vertical markets such as healthcare, announced it would purchase 1,000 LifeDrives for its customized bundles of medical apps for healthcare practitioners.