Portable Pics and Flicks
palmOne's LifeDrive mobile manager soups up the traditional handheld and smartphone concepts by placing a tiny, one-inch 4GB Hitachi Microdrive underneath the hood. As you would expect, standard productivity tools are included: support for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files; HotSync capability for updating files from your computer; and wireless e-mail via built-in Wi-Fi or through a Bluetooth mobile phone. palmOne says the 4GB Microdrive has enough capacity to store 1,200 documents, 6,000 e-mails, 1,000 photos, 300 songs, 50 voicemails, and 10,000 (each) contacts and appointments. It's MP3 music capability is nothing new, but the aspect of the LifeDrive that makes it exciting from a portable entertainment point of view is the capability to store up to 2.5 hours of video and watch it on the gadget's 320x480 color screen (approximately 2.5 inches by 3.75 inches) capable of 65,000 colors. palmOne's LifeDrive is available now for $499.
As cool as palmOne's LifeDrive is, when you're looking to be entertained and don't give a flip about schedules, e-mails, and being productive in general (that's my vision of life), the Archos AV700 Mobile Digital Video Recorder (DVR) is the daydreamer's dream machine. Like other Archos portables, the AV700 is a portable DVR that can record standard analog video directly from a variety of sources such as TVs, DVD players*, VCRs, cable boxes, and satellite receivers. A built-in scheduling feature can be set to record programs (up to one month in advance) from components with built-in tuners, and the integrated infrared emitter will automatically tune the source component to the correct channel at the programmed time. Archos includes a TV docking pod, A/V cables, a remote control, and a power adapter to make it extremely easy to use the AV700 as a home-based DVR and then grab it and go for portable use.
While you're out wandering around town, you won't have to squint watching videos on the AV700's large (for a portable digital media device) 7” widescreen 480x234 LCD with a stated capability of 262,000 colors. The list of supported audio and video formats is impressive and includes MP3, MPEG-4, DivX, and AVI. As part of the Microsoft PlaysForSure program, the AV700 can automatically synchronize with your computer's Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 software allowing playback of downloaded, purchased, and subscription-based songs and movies. A USB Host port (USB 2.0) lets you quickly transfer files from Mass Storage Class USB-compatible digital cameras, card readers, USB thumb drives (when will they start making pinkie-finger drives?), and portable hard drives directly to the AV700 without booting up your computer.
Two versions of the AV700 will be available in June, 2005 - a 40GB model at $599.95 and a 100GB model for $799.95.
*Archos says that the AV700's external video output is disabled for Macrovision-protected content.