In what gadget makers say is the latest sign of progress, you now can make your calendar appointments and watch hours of home movies on the very same device.
Hand-held electronic organizers were conceived as simple tools to keep track of personal appointments and contacts. During the next few months, though, a crop of new devices will hit the market that can store hundreds of digital photos, thousands of emails and several hours worth of your home movies.
palmOne Inc. [has unveiled] the LifeDrive, a $499 device that comes with four gigabytes of storage — more than four times the amount in previous palmOne hand-helds. It enables users to view hours of video and play hundreds of songs, and comes with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for transferring photos and other files from the device to a personal computer wirelessly.
The biggest difference between the latest batch of devices and their predecessors is the storage capacity. While previous hand-held devices relied on memory chips, the new gadgets use small hard drives for storage. That is the same component found in Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod digital-music player. Hard drives allow for far more digital content — such as 2.5 hours of video, 300 digital photos and a year’s worth of emails — to be carried in a relatively small product.