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PalmOne preps its LifeDrive

New line of PDAs, called mobile managers, expected later this month

PalmOne has developed a new category of mobile computing products called mobile manager, and will unveil the first such device later this month.

But it appears Amazon.com has beaten PalmOne to the punch by offering details of the PalmOne LifeDrive Mobile Manager on its website.

PalmOne has created the mobile manager category of products for users who want to carry, file and manage content such as music and video. According to analysts, PalmOne is planning to officially announce the new product on 18 May.

On Saturday, the price of the LifeDrive PDA was listed at $500 (£265) on the Amazon.com website, according to several reports on the web. By Monday, Amazon.com's site said the product is unavailable and listed no price.

However, a few details of the device remained online: the LifeDrive will come with an Intel XScale processor running at 416MHz, and its 320x480 pixel colour display will work in landscape or portrait modes. The device will also offer a feature called smart file management.

PalmOne's mobile manager range of devices is aimed users who want to use as much digital content as possible, including music, video, email and business documents in Word, Excel and Powerpoint formats. The new devices will sit alongside PalmOne's other two ranges: the Tungsten and Zire branded handheld organisers and the Treo smart phone.

PalmOne has been looking to add some zip to its product line after having suffered a sizeable dip in demand. In the first three months of this year, PalmOne experienced a 26 percent drop in PDA shipments, compared to the first quarter of 2004, according to a study released earlier this month by Gartner.

That came despite a sharp increase in shipments for PDAs with integrated WLAN (wireless LAN) and cell-phone capabilities, in particular the BlackBerry device from Research In Motion (RIM), Gartner says.

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