Toy… “Prurient Interest”

It’s not lust, not exactly, at least not yet, but it certainly is enough to raise an eyebrow. palmOne announced the “LifeDrive Mobile Manager” today. While the built-in 4-GB microdrive is neat, the real eye-opener is built-in 802.11b support. This makes it the first Palm device, aside from the unattractive keyboard-based Tungsten C, to offer built-in WiFi.

Open questions:

  • Is the mail client as useless a piece of hideous garbage as the one on older Palm devices? (If it can connect directly to the mail server using its own network stack, rather than having to piggyback onto the host’s stack at sync time, there’s hope that the answer is “No.” However, a direct connection to the server is not per se going to save you from acute developer retardedness, such as assuming that the only IMAP folder of interest on said server is INBOX, and making it excruciatingly painful to specify others.)
  • What’s the battery life like, especially when you’re actively using WiFi?
  • Did palmOne gratuitously redesign the connector at the base of the thing yet again? On the one hand, it sure looks different in the photographs; on the other hand, palmOne’s literature suggests that it is in fact compatible with accessories designed for its forebears. Further investigation is warranted.
  • Is palmOne about to come out with an equivalent Treo counterpart? (And would I, in fact, care? In the past few days I’ve been pointedly indicating the generally miserable quality of all cellular networks in the Bay Area as the reason I haven’t acquired a new cell phone since my last one was stolen. The Treo 650 is a sweet little unit, but there’s still the matter of having a decent network to use it with.)

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