Two words: It’s bloody gorgeous!
OK, sue me for sneaking in a third.
There’s more to it than that, of course.
First, I need to upgrade from my Sony S320. It’s PalmOS 4 and monochrome. I don’t mind the OS 4 (it lets me have my wonderful productivity-enhancing Hacks!), but the screen is sandpapering my eyes these days. I need more contrast. For about a year (maybe less), I did have a Tungsten E courtesy of Ryan of Palm Infocenter. But it had abysmal build quality and after developing many maladies (bad digitizer, then one channel of stereo disappeared, then both), it died of a digital stroke.
Second, I want massive storage. OK, so with the passage of time, the LifeDrive’s 4GB seems rather quaint, what with 8GB iPod nanos and 80GB 5.5-gen iPods. Still, I can get more use of out 4GB than the 128MB max (256MB if I use a banked Memory Stick) of the S320. I can have more pictures; I can have video; I can even have sound (it might replace the jWin SD-based MP3 player I’ve been using).
Third, I can have WiFi. I don’t expect it to be anything like on The Biggest Piece Of Shit Known To Man — there are fewer screen pixels — but at least I will be able to get RSS again. I’ve become a mild (I hope!) RSS addict.
Fourth, I can have Bluetooth. OK, so I don’t really know what I can do with it. My rotten Tracfone cellphone lacks Bluetooth. But I do have a compact Bluetooth keyboard imported from China that I’ve been using with The Biggest Piece Of Shit Known To Man. I’d like to see if I can coax it to work with the LifeDrive. If it doesn’t work (and I really don’t expect it to), I can always fall back to the Palm Universal Keyboard, which uses IR. I’ve had that since the TE and used it with that. Yes, I could also splurge on that new ThinkOutside Sierra Bluetooth keyboard, but I’m not a fan of the feel of that keyboard.
Fifth, I can finally retrieve all the data the TE used to carry. It’s been stuck on my desktop PC all this time. With PalmOS 5, Palm changed the database structure of the four main apps, making them backward-incompatible with OS 4. There’s just no way of getting that stuff back onto the S320.
Sixth, I don’t want a Treo. No. I want Grafitti. I don’t want a teeny-weeny keyboard.
Seventh, I don’t want a TX. I know it has several advantages over the original LifeDrive — better WiFi, for one thing. But it’s just… ugly. Palm, again being lazy, just stretched the TE and gave it the nauseating color of a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome victim.
Eighth, I didn’t really want the original LifeDrive. That is, I did want a hard drive-based PalmOS unit; I predicted its appearance. But Palm, being cheap as well as lazy, placed the OS on the hard disk itself, instead of where it should have sensibly been: on a separate chip. I don’t have to recount the horrors that resulted from that decision.
Ninth, I already have LifeDrive accessories. Shortly after the LifeDrive’s appearance, I was able to pick up on ebay both the Cradle Kit and the Travel Kit each for less than the cost of shipping them!
Tenth, I could get a LifeDrive cheap now. How little it cost me I’ll reveal later on; it’s shocking! Its original $500 price was just ridiculous. And today’s price of ~$350 is still too high given its legion of problems. (The Zire should be $50; the TE2 $100; the TX $150; the LifeDrive $200. Note to Palm: your days of Apple-like pricing are over!)
Eleventh: It’s now possible to alleviate Palm’s foolish hard disk scheme by replacing the Microdrive with a 4GB Compact Flash card. This is what I hope to do. Whether I will succeed or fail is still an open question.