X Marks the LifeDrive?

LifeDriveOK, so maybe LifeDrive was wrong. Brighthand reports that the Palm device with a 4GB hard drive formerly known as the LifeDrive will likely be called the Tungsten X. The report doesn’t mention whether that’s X-for-eXtreme, or X-for-“let’s ride on the coat-tails of Apple”. Personally I would have thought that LifeDrive was a bit more funky. You know, your life, like, on a drive.

Apart from the huge (in terms of PDAs anyway) storage, the rumoured specs on the Tungsten X are pretty standard:

  • Hitachi 4 GB miniature hard drive
  • USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 1.1 wireless networking
  • Palm OS Garnet on a 416 MHz XScale processor
  • 320-by-480-pixel display
  • About US$500

At this point I’ll hand over to my trusty Palm analyst, Stu. Care to add a comment Stu? (It may be some time coming, because the lazy bugger doesn’t work on Fridays. He pretends to work on Sundays instead).

Update from Stu:

Unfortunately the fucked up NVFS system is here to stay. It’s on the new Tungsten|E2 released yesterday. The latest Treo650 patch from Sprint (soon to be rolled out to GSM devices as well) fixes the worst aspect of NVFS…namely the 512 blocking – yes even 512 bytes for a 12 byte record. You can image what effect this had on every user database. Records are now in 32 blocks on the NVFS. A much more reasonable blocking size.

However apart from that the addition of NVFS potentially breaks every existing Palm app on the planet in low storage conditions. This is because NVFS is essentially a ‘generation’ away from the actual RAM databases. If you launch an app it loads the NVFS image into RAM, modifies it there and when you exit the app, writes the database back to NVFS. Now picture how this works when you have less free NVFS than available RAM? We’ve discovered it just truncates and/or corrupts your app databases silently. Classy.

Of course with some work you can re-write your app to work around these NVFS issues. However the API isn’t complete, is buggy…and requires you to modify your app. Hence the 10,000+ Palm apps that already exist and run are potentially broken.

I’m just glad I’m upskilling in J2ME…because as soon as palmOne release their rumored Pocket PC based Treo650 PalmSource are fucked. ‘sides which the handheld is a dead market space anyway. The smartphone is where it’s at baby!

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