I posted a short news blurb on Geek.com today regarding the apparent end to the Mobile Manager category at Palm. Palm created the new Mobile Manager category in May of 2005 to complement their Handheld category (Zires and Tungsten devices) and Smartphone category (Treo devices). The Mobile Managers were designed to take all your digital content with you on the go, including music, photos, movies, email and documents.
The Palm LifeDrive was the first product in this category and it included a 4GB hard drive. Unfortunately, the device had a few issues and wasn't as popular as Palm hoped. With 60GB video-capable iPods available at the same price, it is a tough sell to have someone go for a 4GB device. You can now also find 4GB Secure Digital cards for less than US$100 and could slip one into a much better and more-pocketable Palm TX device. Palm devices have also been known to be extremely responsive when it comes to performance and the LifeDrive had some lagging characteristics due to the way the hard drive was used for storing programs and data. There were security concerns with the hard drive since a hard reset would not necessarily erase the hard drive and leave those contents intact for the thief who stole one. If you reset the device you also had to wait for quite a long time for it to go through the reset process.
Developers were quick to fix some of these issues and Palm did release a software update that improved the performance too, but the device really did not live up to expectations and may have been trying to fit in where there really wasn't much of a need. I think Nokia and others may be getting it better when they add large capacity drives to much more portable smartphones, like the N91.
UPDATE: July 10, 2006 @ 1446 PDT. According to this Brighthand article a Palm executive has confirmed that the LifeDrive is still in production and is not being retired yet. Maybe this was just wishful thinking by LifeDrive owners.