Editorial on the LifeDrive and Sony Clie NZ90
For those readers tired of hearing only Treo-centric news, a nice editorial piece on 1src brings us back to those heady days of 2003 and 2005. ...the era when pocket-swelling "multimedia" PDAs reigned supreme! Namely, Palm's LifeDrive and Sony's NZ90. These two infamous models were two of the bulkiest, most power-hungry devices ever to run the Palm OS and generally considered enormous disasters by both critics and casual handheld users alike.
Alan's piece does a good job of listing the numerous shortcomings of both devices, especially the always contentious point about available RAM (only a 32mb SDRAM chip atop a slow 4gb Microdrive on the LifeDrive and a mere ~11mb free on the Clie) how a high MSRP was the final deathblow to both of those already severaly compromised handhelds. While Alan claims hindsight is 20/20, many users (especially in the case of the LifeDrive-this author and former LifeDrive owner included) thought the LifeDrive a superb concept that was hobbled by Palm's stingy RAM allocation and the presence of a mechanical microdrive. And Sony's clamshell Clie line could be a very early preview of what many are expecting next from Jeff Hawkins and Palm in regards to the mythical "Foleo" product; quite possibly a "FOLding TrEO".
Sony's NZ90, while being horribly overpriced at $800 MSRP, was a product released during the height of Sony's handheld and CE hubris. Had Sony waited a bit longer and/or worked more closely with Palm and PalmSource, it could have stuffed 128mb of RAM into the NZ90 and enjoyed native screen rotation supported within the OS. The crippled CompactFlash slot and usual set of Memory Stick and proprietary media formats were Sony's fault alone and also attributable to Sony arrogantly insisting on doing things "their" way.
Grassi's piece concludes with a return to the present, as legions of frustrated Treo 700p users sit and anxiously await a ROM update from Palm. Alan goes on to give the painful reminder of how so many devices, many of them unsurprisingly running some variant of Palm OS 5.x, are hastily rushed to market in order to meet a release deadline or important shopping season.
This is definitely an article worth reading and contemplating this weekend and we await (and hope for) the possible release of the 700p update in the next few weeks.