palmOne Announces New Category of Mobile-Computing
Today palmOne released the following press release:
May 9th 2005 A growing number of people today want
access to greater volumes of digital business, personal, entertainment
and online content that is as mobile as they are -- and just as
varied. To meet this need, palmOne, Inc today signals the creation
of a new category of mobile-computing products -- the mobile manager.
The first product in this category is expected to be announced
later this month.
The introduction of a new category reflects usage patterns palmOne
has tracked over time, especially among customers for its premium
products. Customers of palmOne's high-end Tungsten T3 handheld
computer, for example, show a strong affinity for taking full
advantage of the included DataViz Documents To Go software, which
puts Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents at their fingertips.
Customers also have asked palmOne to provide them with convenient
ways to carry, file and manage rich digital content, such as music
and video. While overlap exists, palmOne has identified three
major customer segments and assigned three corresponding product
lines to better serve them. They are as follows:
-- Mobile managers are designed for customers who are eager to
take full advantage of the trend toward "digital everything"
-- from documents and email to music, images and video, as standalone
files or in organized folders;
-- Handhelds attract customers whose first and foremost interest
is in basic organization tools, such as calendar and contacts.
These customers often incorporate additional applications and
add music and images to their handhelds, but their central purchase
driver is organization. palmOne's Zire branded handheld computers
serve consumers, and Tungsten branded handhelds serve mobile professionals
in this customer set; and
-- Smartphones attract customers whose primary interest is in
a single converged device that is an outstanding phone that also
delivers excellent email access and organization. The Treo smartphone
from palmOne serves this customer set.
"In studying customer trends, we found that some people
want to carry dozens of documents and hundreds of songs while
others want to carry a thousand-plus photos and enjoy videos,"
said Page Murray, palmOne vice president of marketing. "Organization
functions were highly valued by nearly all our customers, but
some wanted much more business and personal file-management capabilities.
We listened and will deliver a new category of mobile-computing
product that will let customers fuse their own mix of personal
and business content in ways never before possible in either handheld
computers or smartphones.
"We'll bring to market a new type of product that simplifies
our lives and makes work and play more productive and more fun,"
said Murray. "Stay tuned."
IT'S HERE NOW!
Well it seems we need not wait long for a glimse of the new device
After months of rumours on the Web, details of palmOne's new
"LifeDrive" PDA have finally shown up on Amazon.
The device will come with a 4GB Hitachi Microdrive, SD card slot,
320x480 hi-resolution colour display (with portrait and landscape
viewing) and offer Bluetooth and 802.11b Wi-Fi wireless connectivity.
The LifeDrive handhelds will be powered by a 416MHz Intel XScale
PXA270 processor and run on the Palm GarnetOS, which includes
support for wireless connections such as Bluetooth.
The device will be a little larger than palmOne's latest high-end
model, the Tungsten T5, sizing up at 4.7 inches tall, 2.8 inches
wide, and a pocket-threatening 0.8 inches thick. It will weigh
According to sources, the music-playing device will use Pocket
Tunes and sync with Real's Rhapsody music service, suggesting
that it could be seen as a turbo-charged challenger to Apple Computer's
US$199 4GB iPod Mini.
NormSoft's Pocket Tunes is able to play MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis,
and WAV files and the unit will also support full screen video
and photo playback.
Business users will be catered for with the bundled DocumentsToGo
software supporting Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Acrobat files.
The unit also comes with 'Camera Companion' software for transferring
photos to and from the device, with 'Drive Mode' allowing users
to plug their handheld into the USB port on a PC and have the
microdrive appear as a removable drive.
The LifeDrive comes with USB 2.0, so transferring files onto
the microdrive should be a fairly nifty business.
Despite black leather clad doomsayers predicting the death of
the PDA, palmOne clearly thinks that a hard drive-based multimedia
device able to take advantage of the immense software resources
of the palm platform could be a winner.
There's certainly industry interest elsewhere, with Dell rumoured
to be considering a hard drive based handheld.
Although there's been no official announcement from palmOne,
the LifeDrive is expected to launch in the US on 18th May, 2005