Saturday, February 05, 2005

Drive mode-do it well or skip it

Recently, rumours have surfaced that the Qool QDA700 smartphone has its RAM/Flash divided into a 15meg RAM and a 17meg flash drive like the one available on a T5. At first glance, this looks nice. You can immediately store MP3/Video on the handheld and don't need to purchase an SD card. Another step towards multimedia handhelds-w00t.
Lets think of the users for a moment. Some will use this smartphone as a media player, not needing much aditional storage RAM. Others will use many legacy applications that insist on having al of their data stored im RAM and cannot do much with external memory. The Qool's memory division isn't perfect for either of them-actualy, it isn't perfect for anyone except maybe the manufacturer. RAM disk programs have always been capable to create RAM disks of different sizes as apropriate. While resizing these sometimes required a reformat, it was possible to select how much RAM/expansion memory you wanted on your machine.
In addition, lets now look at the size of the drive: its a freaking 17MB-thats an SD card that isn't even sold in austrian(yes, austrian) retail stores anymore... . A 16MB card may be o.k. for handling photos and native files, but these can as well be stored in main memory. Installing 15 minutes of MP3 in good quality would however bust the internal memory already, same valid for longer movies.
On the qool, the only use I can imagine for the internal memory card is the exchange of data with PC's that do not have the Palm Desktop installed. The handheld can be mounted as an USB medium, and native files can be exchanged between PC and handheld-but that is about it. Everyone who wants to do some serious multi-media tasks will still need to purchase a memory card-nothing has changed here even with the added internal memory...
So, come on, manufacturers, if you add an internal memory card, do it the smart way round! Give your users enogun free space for a few MP3 files and also enough RAM space-128MB is not soo expensive nowadays-and can be partitioned into both 32meg RAM and 96 meg Storage and also evenly in 64/64 pieces....
One last thing: Please don't get me wrong. The QDA700 is a nice smartphone, and internal memory cards are cool. But it is as with everything-do it properly or forget it... .


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