Thursday, September 27, 2007

Palm Introduces the Centro


Palm has officially introduced the Centro smartphone. The following has been taken from the Palm press release mailed out earlier today.
"Designed for individuals and traditional mobile phone users looking for a better way to manage their professional and social lives, Palm, Inc. and Sprint today introduced the Palm(R) Centro(TM) smart device, at $99.99. With voice, text, IM, email, web, contact and calendar capabilities, a full-color touch screen and full keyboard, Centro brings Palm simplicity and organization to customers who want to stay connected with co-workers, friends and family. Centro will be exclusive through Sprint in the United States for 90 days and is available in onyx black or ruby red."

"With a fun, new compact design, Centro is the smallest and lightest Palm phone to date. Centro has a modern, stylish look that feels comfortable in the hand, pocket or evening purse."

"As the newest member of the Palm family, Centro is expected to attract new users to the smartphone category. According to IDC, the smartphone market is shifting to the mass market; U.S. smartphone shipments will grow from 13.8 million in 2007 to 74.4 million in 2011."















Analysis

The Centro is the new consumer oriented smartphone that Palm has been hinting about for a while now and shares some of the design elements of the recently announced Treo 500v for European wireless carrier Vodafone. To purchase the Centro smartphone for the advertised $99.99 you will need to commit to a new 2-year service agreement with Sprint. At this time, the retail pricing for the Centro without a service agreement for Sprint customers who are in between contract renewal periods is still unknown, however rumors circulating on the Internet in recent weeks pins the price of the Centro around $400.

The Centro is a standard Palm OS 5 based smartphone runing similar software as the Treo 680 and 755p. Since the Centro is a consumer oriented device, the popular mp3 player software Pocket Tunes has been upgraded to Pocket Tunes Deluxe. I also noticed that the Centro ships with VersaMail 4.0. At this time, it is not clear what has changed between this new version of VersaMail and version 3.5.x which has been shipping on the Treo 680, 700p, and 755p. (I also don't know if there will be be an upgrade made available for existing Treo customers.)

The Centro is slightly smaller and lighter than the Treo 755p. Centro's published dimensions are 4.22" (L) x 2.11" (W) x 0.73" (D) where as the 755p is 4.4" (L) x 2.3" (W) x 0.84 (D). The Centro weighs in at 4.2 ounces while the 755p comes it at 5.64 ounces.

Centro will be a Sprint exclusive for 90-days and is expected to go on sale in mid-October. It is possible that the Centro and the Treo 500v could go on sale on in the US and the UK on the same day. Palm will be shipping the Sprint edition Centro in two colors, onyx (black) and ruby (red). Not surprising, there has been no mention during today's announcement as to when a Verizon wireless Centro, or Treo 755p for that matter, will become available.

Palm and Sprint are expected to start taking Centro pre-orders from their respective websites starting tomorrow.

Read the full Palm press release...
Palm Centro website...
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