A full featured PDA can serve as a laptop substitute for those times you don’t want, or are not allowed, to have your regular computer with you. I bought a Palm LifeDrive for this very reason.
In this series of weblogs I’ll cover many of the LifeDrive’s features and explain their strengths and weaknesses. I can tell you right now that I think its 4GB hard drive, WiFi and Bluetooth networking, robust battery, and USB 2.0 connectivity are strong points for this device.
The built-in WiFi is quite good. I have easily connected to 802.11 networks at home, my studio, the O’Reilly campus, Starbucks, and friends’ homes. Because the LifeDrive has a good battery, I’m not hesitant to activate WiFi whenever I might want it. And that includes listening to Internet radio.
A basic version of PocketTunes is bundled with the LifeDrive. This app allows you to fill up your 4GB hard drive with MP3s and enjoy music while at work or play. The app is quite good and has most of the controls that you’d want, such as playlists, EQ, cross fade control, skins, and best of all, will play music in the background while you work with other apps on your Palm. You can listen through the LifeDrive’s buit-in speaker, headphones, or external speakers plugged into the headphone jack.
If you upgrade to the Deluxe version of PocketTunes, which I did for $25 (LifeDrive users get a $10 discount off the regular $35 price), you can also get Internet radio stations via the LifeDrive’s buit-in WiFi. I really like this feature.
I have way too much music to use the LifeDrive as my MP3 player. But the beauty of Internet radio is that is doesn’t require any disk space, and the listening options are bountiful. Right now I’m listening to a classic rock station on Live365. The audio is excellent. I never have any drop outs. And even using the non-subscriber version, there are fewer commercials than I’d have to endure on regular radio… plus I always have the option to subscribe and eliminate them all together.
I’ll be covering more WiFi enabled functionality in future chronicles, but for now, I’m going to enjoy this Stones song that’s playing and log off…