PalmOne introduces Life Drive Mobile Manager

With the recent introduction of LifeDrive from Palm, there is action hotting up in the PDA space. After the PC introduction in 1981 and the large-scale mobile phone introduction in 1993, it was Palm Handheld in 1996 that was a true trail-blazer (after Apple’s Newton failing in the market). Ever since, Palm has been re-inventing the market; many others including Sony, and our own Simputer followed in 1999. With camera-built phones in the market, and the millions in India & China hungry for phone connection, and the resultant falling prices in 2004, it appeared that mobile phones would replace PDA’s; in fact Sony decided to pull out of PDA market. Against this background, Palm springing up with LifeDrive is a welcome development.

In the past two years Apple’s iPod has become a real hit; it replaces the Sony Walkman market, that got a new lease of life, thanks to MP3 replacing the normal CD music. With its hip design, launch of iTunes (in cyberspace) and AppleStore (in real space), Apple has been making waves.

With LifeDrive, Palm is bundling a PDA with 4 GB hard disk and has the look & feel (and weight), not very different from iPod. It can do all that iPod does but also serve as a PDA (Address, Appointments); and additionally, with its built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, it can communicate as well. It may not replace cell phone, but it may substitute an iPod for the traveler; it might hit the Black Berry Mobile e-Mail market too.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft responds to Palm’s LifeDrive, with its recent launch of Windows Mobile 5.0 Edition.

The month of May has been very exciting. If all the players – Apple, Microsoft, RIM (BlackBerry) and Palm – cooperate and add value to the end customers (instead of fighting among themselves and confusing the customers) it will be a field day for the customers.

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