PalmOne preps latest handhelds

PalmOne is preparing its first handheld with a hard drive, Hitachi's 4GB Microdrive, as well as a refresh of one of its most popular devices, the Tungsten E, according to a source familiar with the company's plans.

The hard drive-based device will be the first in a new line to be called Life Drive. The $499 handheld is expected to be announced in mid-May and include Wi-Fi connectivity. The device will play back music but will not come with RealNetworks' player. Instead, it will use Pocket Tunes and will synch with Real's Rhapsody music service, according to our source.

Enthusiast sites such as PalmInfocenter and PalmAddict have been publishing speculation on the Life Drive along with renderings of what it may look like.

PalmOne is also expected to announce on Wednesday its second Tungsten E device, the Tungsten E2, according to our source. Details first popped up late last year on the Federal Communications Commission site, but were quickly removed. At $249, the E2 is expected to be very similar to the Tungsten E, but it will come with Bluetooth and non-volatile memory, which ensures that stored data will not be erased when battery power runs out.

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    Richard Shim
    writes about gadgets big and small.
     

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