• centro,  palm os,  review

    Palm Centro Reivew

    I was working with my sister’s Centro today, and the following is a review of the white hot selling consumer-oriented Palm smartphone. I use a Palm Treo 755p and Treo 750 and will be comparing the Centro with those two devices.

    Operating System

    The Centro runs Palm’s Palm OS operating system, version 5.4.9; which is the same version that Palm is using in the latest Palm OS Treo, the 755p. The Centro that I am working with has already been upgraded to the latest software maintenance release, 1.07, which can be downloaded from the Palm website as a free download.

    Because the Centro runs Palm OS, you can run the thousands of existing Palm OS application that are available today. If you are upgrading from a Palm OS Tungsten or Zire PDA, your transition to the Centro should be a smooth one. If you have an older Palm OS PDA, the transition to the Centro is possible, however, I encourage anyone who has installed third-party application software to upgrade to the latest release before doing so to make sure that all of your software is compatible with Palm OS 5.

    The Hardware

    The Cento is smaller than previous Palm smartphones. Althought the size difference is not dramatic, the rounded edges of the Cento make it seem smaller when you are holding it in your hand. Slipping it into and out of the front pocket of a pair of jeans will be ease.

    Unlike the Treo 750 and 755p, the original model Centro smartphones do not have the rubberized soft-touch paint. In my opinion, this is one of the few negatives of the Centro. I really like the soft-touch paint as it helps me keep a firm grasp on the device while I am using it. Starting with the newest Sprint Centro models, olive green and vibrant rose, Palm has returned to using the soft-touch paint.

    As with previous smartphones, the Centro also includes a full Qwerty keyboard. The keys on the Centro are smaller than those on the Treo, however, the jelly style key caps make it easy for people to type on the keyboard, even if you are used to the Treo’s keyboard or if you have big mits like me.

    Nesseled in between the bright touch-screen and the keyboard are the standard hardware buttons Palm’s customers have come to expect: Phone, Calendar, Home, Email, Call Send/Recevie (the green button) and Call End/Power (the red button). The center button, which is used to navigrate around the screen and select objects, is right in the center of the device and easily accessible with your thumb. Along the top of the device is the ringer switch for silencing your phone quickly; a feature I wished more people would us during meetings.

    Rounding out the hardware features of the Centro is the digital camera on the back of the device mounted along side of the speaker. The 2.5mm headset jack, sync and power ports can be found on the bottom edge. An IR port has been placed on the right side of the body, and on the left are the volume up and down buttons and the Voice Memo button.

    Each of the application hardware buttons can be reprogammed by using the Buttons control panel which is found in the Prefs application. (Press Home, and then tap or select the Prefs application in the Palm OS Application launcher.)

    The Centro does come with a stylus, but I’m not excited about it. The stylus is an anemic piece of brittle plastic that feels like it will break if I hold it too hard. The bottom third of the Treo 750 and 755p is metal, but I long for the days of the Treo 650 and 700p when the stylus was mostly metal.

    The Centro uses a 1150mAh battery that held up well while I was using it. (I had the device for about 90 minutes.) During that time, I was constantly checking email, downloading software updates, and browsing the web. If you plan on using all of the phone’s features (phone calls, email, organizer applicaitons, and Office documents) you will likely need to charge the phone up everynight. Casual users, who don’t talk on the phone alot will be able to get a few days out a single charge. Milage will vary.

    The Centro also has a microSD card slot, which unlike the Treo 750 and 755p, is only accessable by removing the battery compartment door. This won’t be a problem for most Centro owners unless they have multiple expansion cards that you need to swap in an out.

    The Software

    Centro comes with all of the software you would expect to find on a $99 phone and then some. I was really happy to see that Palm was including all of their standard Treo software on the Centro. In addition to Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, and Memos, standard fare for a feature flip phone, the Centro also includes a web browser (Blazer 4.5.8), an email application (VersaMail 4.0.1) and the ability to read/write Microsoft Office files (DataViz Documents To Go 10.0 Professional). From a software perspective, there isn’t anything a Centro can’t do that a Treo 755p can. When you buy a Centro, you are buying a full featured smartphone compared with the other devices in the Centro’s price range ($79 – $149).

    Pricing, Colors

    The Centro, available from Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and unlocked, typically sells for $79 – $99. However, deep discounts and mail-in rebates either from Palm or your wireless carrier, and with a new 2-year service agreement can bring the price of the Centro down much lower.

    As indicated earlier, the Centro does come in a variety of colors, however, not all of the colors are available to all of the wireless carriers. The Sprint edition Centro I was able to use was ruby red. Centro is also available in cobalt blue, electric blue, obsidian black, glacial white, olive green, vibrant rose, and pink.


    The Centro is a full featured smartphone that isn’t hard on your checkbook. It is a great phone to upgrade to from a feature phone if you are looking for a better web, email, and text messaging experience. The call quality is good as was the signal strength in my neighborhood.

    There are some aspects of the hardware that I would have changed, however, I don’t think that they are reason enough to pass up on this phone. The inclusion of the full install of the Palm OS means, and all of Palm’s bundled productivty and entertainment software, gives you the same functionality as Apple’s iPhone without the added cost.

    For more details on Palm’s wildly popular Centro smartphone, visit Palm’s Cenro website.

  • centro,  sprint

    Palm, Sprint Update the Centro

    Looks like the Palm Centro for Sprint is about to get a holiday makeover. In a press release issued earlier today, Palm unveiled the Centro refreshes that were alluded to in the September quarterly conference call.

    The two new additions to the Centro family, currently only available for Sprint, feature:

    • Two new colors; olive green and vibrant rose
    • Soft-touch paint; similar to that used on the Treo 750 and 755p
    • 128MB of user accessible memory; increased from 64MB
    • Facebook for Palm OS preinstalled
    • Google Maps with My Location support

    The new Centro smartphones will begin to roll into select retail outlets on October 19, and will be come available at Sprint retail locations and online at Palm.com and Sprint.com starting on November 2.

    Palm is also relasing a trio (not Treo) of Cento accessories to compliment the new phones in the way of a new leather slide case, leather flip case, and car charger.

    According to Palm’s press release, the new smartphones will also have a new lower price when you agree to a 2-year contract, including a data plan that is $25 a month, and after a $100 mail-in rebate. When all is said and done, you can pick up a new Centro for $79.99; previously retailing at $99.99 at the Centro’s initial launch.

    There is a lot of like about the new Centro smartphones. I’m glad to see that Palm is actively marketing multiple colors for their smartphones. I also like that face that Palm has returned to using the soft-touch paint as it one of my favorite features of my Treo 755p. But the best part about this pair of devices is that Palm is pushed past the 64MB mark. There have been plenty of time where I wished my Treo had 128MB on board.

    For more details on the pair of new Centro smartphones, check out the Palm Centro website.

  • centro,  sprint

    Rumor: Rose and Green Centros Coming To Sprint

    The SprintUsers Sprint customer’s community website is reporting that Palm and Sprint will be rolling out two new colored Centro smartphones on October 19, 2008.

    The leaked Sprint Quick Reference Brief states that a rose and green colored Centro will go on sale in October. No device specs or pricing are listed in the brief, but at this point, we have to assume that the new Centro units will be exactly like the other CDMA Sprint units with new shells.

    Checkout SprintUsers.com for more details and discussion

  • centro,  treo,  windows mobile

    2 Million Centros, Treo 800w BT Update

    Palm Sells 2 Million Centro Smartphones

    Earlier today, Palm issued a press release stating that the smartphone maker had sold it’s 2 millionth Centro smartphone.

    “Consumers are ready to do more on their mobile phone, and Centro has struck a chord around the world,” said Brodie Keast, senior vice president of marketing for Palm, Inc. “Centro has everything a person needs to stay connected with everyone who is important to them — and at a price point and size that make smartphones more attractive to a much wider audience.”

    The same press release continues:

    “Now available from almost 20 carriers worldwide, including the three largest carriers in the United States, Centro has reached more young adults and women, as well as a broader range of household income, than any prior Palm smartphone. It offers customers an affordable, simple and fun option for staying connected and doing more with their mobile phones.”

    With the consumer-oriented Centro smartphone, the ease of use of the Palm OS, stylish design, and a great price point come together to create a solution that does delight the first smartphone customers.

    Palm Releases a Bluetooth Voice Dialing Update

    Owners of the recently released Windows Mobile Treo 800w are now able to install a small patch that will allow them to use hands-free voice dialing commands over a Bluetooth headset.

    The 131kb patch can be install from your desktop Windows XP or Vista computer, over-the-air directly to your Treo 800w, or via a microSD card. The installation and download links can be found on the Sprint Treo 800w downloads page.

    Since this is a software patch, and not a full flash ROM upgrade, if you hard reset your Treo 800w, you will need to reapply this patch. Furthermore, this update is only intended for Sprint Treo 800w smartphones running the TREO800w-1.03-SPNT software image.

  • centro,  sprint

    Sprint Centro 1.07 Software Update

    Palm has released a software update for the Sprint edition of the Palm Centro smartphone. This update is designed only for the Sprint device.

    According to the Palm website, the 1.07 software includes several enhancements:

    • Improved Gmail IMAP compatibility
    • Updated compatibility for Google Mobile Maps My Location feature
    • Improved ongoing delivery of email sent to VersaMail accounts viaExchange ActiveSync
    • Bluetooth usability enhancements and updates
    • Sprint TV performance enhancements
    • Enhanced AOL Instant Messenger performance
    • Improved performance when adding a contact using Mobile Voice Control
    • Improved email attachment handling
    • Changed default camera shutter sound to “ON.” Audible shutter “click” will be heard
    • Allows Preferred Roaming List updates over the air

    Before applying this update, I recommend that you back up your device either by performing a HotSync operation with your computer or by using a backup application, like Alex Pruss’ free NVBackup application.

    This software update can not be undone, even by means of a hard reset. Make sure that you are ready to commit to the update before applying it.

    For more information and the download link, visit the Palm website

  • att,  centro,  sprint,  treo,  windows mobile

    Weekend Wrap Up

    This weekend, Palm made three important moves, not that anyone noticed with iPhonemania 2.0 in full swing.

    Electric Blue Centro, Temporary Price Cut

    On Friday, Palm introduced a new electric blue Centro on the AT&T wireless network. If you are following along on your scorecards, AT&T now has three colors to choose from: obsidian black, glacier white, and now electric blue. To entice even more people to chose Centro, AT&T has lowered the price to $69.99 when you sign up for a qualifying two-year service agreement. That is great news for anyone looking to jump on the smartphone bandwagon!

    You can purchase an AT&T Centro either online from the Palm or AT&T website, or from any AT&T retail outlet. For more details, visit the Palm Centro website.

    Sprint Begins Selling the Palm Treo 800w

    At long last the new Palm Treo 800w is available! It has a great looking case and offers several new built-in features previously unavailable on any previous Palm smartphone.

    Just some of the new features include Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1; a 320×320 touch screen display, a 2.0MP camera, and built-in Wi-Fi and GPS radios. The new Treo retails for $599, however, when you sign up for a qualifying service plan, after instant and mail-in rebates, the 800w sells for $249.99. A handsome price for what could be a very nice phone.

    On Sunday night, Palm has yet to issue a press release or update their website and online store. Look for more details come Monday morning.

    Oh Palm, sigh…

    Working with AT&T to bring out a new Centro, if only in color, and putting a price cut in place was the right thing to do. And launching the much-anticipated Treo 800w on Sprint was another positive step forward.

    Yet, once again, Palm’s marketing department show how inept they are. Launching two new phones and introducing a price cut during the same weekend that Apple was rolling out their new iPhone 3G and iPhone 2.0 software was just poor planning.

    John Paczkowski from the D: All Things Digital website, has the perfect quote from Charlie Wolf who is an analyst at Needham & Company. The quote reads:

    “They took the wrong day to do it,” said Charlie Wolf, a wireless analyst at Needham & Co. “It’s going to be drowned out by the hoopla around the iPhone.”

    I truly hope that Palm learns from this mistake, and doesn’t start talking publicly about their Palm OS II/Nova plans and/or devices during the same week that Apple is rolling out new products at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco come January 2009. Palm needs to get out in front of Apple, or get behind them. Just don’t go toe-to-toe with them.

  • centro,  palm os

    Palm Launches Unlocked GSM Centro

    Palm has announced that starting today, customers can purchase an unlocked GSM Centro in the United States directly from the company’s website for $299.

    The unlocked GSM Centro will be available in a single color, white, and will have gray accents. This latest edition of Palm’s wildly popular Centro shares the same hardware specifications as the AT&T Centro, which is also a GSM device.

    To learn more about the Centro, including today’s new unlocked GSM Centro, please visit the Palm Centro website.

  • 1src,  centro

    Editorial: You Can Do More

    I’ve posted this week’s 1SRC editorial, “You Can Do More”. In it, I talk about how Palm might help new customers learn more about all of the great third-party application software for the Centro smartphone.

    You Can Do More

    Palm is working hard to promote the Centro as a consumer oriented smartphone. Now they need to make sure that people upgrading from feature phones to the Centro know that it is easy to purchase and install third-party applications that can extend the utility of their phone.

    I was talking to a friend of mine recently about the demographics of Apple iPhone and Palm Centro purchasers. We talked feature about phone users who might upgrade from a 12-key feature flip phone to a smartphone. Surely the iPhone is the current darling of the media. However, I don’t believe that brand awareness alone will drive sales. There are a few things that consumers consider before purchase a phone including: hardware costs, monthly subscription rates, features of the software, and whether or not the device is intended for work or entertainment.

    It is the software and new customers that I would like to focus on. It is a long-standing fact that most people don’t install third-party software on their Palm smartphones. The last statistic that I recall reading said that about 33% of Palm owners do install third-party software. Let’s assume for a minute that the number is wrong and that 60% of customers install applications on their devices. That still leaves a whopping 40% of customers who are not realizing the full potential of their smartphones.

    There are three things that I think that Palm can do to help raise consumer awareness of the vast software library available for the Centro smartphone. To raise awareness, Palm should focus on:

    • In store displays
    • Placing a card in the Centro box
    • Leveraging of the MyPalm.com portal

    The object should not only be to inform new Palm customers of what their new Centro is capable of doing. Palm should be showing new customers how easy it is to find, purchase, and install these applications.

    The in store display should be a no brainer. On my last trips to a Sprint/Nextel and AT&T location, there where stand up posters and ads all over the inside of the store. I don’t recall seeing any of the Palm information cards make mention the large library of software that was available for the Centro, the Treo 755p, or the Treo 750. The first step in getting the full utility out of a new phone should start at the retail location. Customers should know right form the get go that there is even more that the Centro can do than what is printed on the side of the box.

    What if the customer purchases the new phone online? That’s where the in box card comes into play. The first thing a new Centro owner should see when they open the box is a card that briefly talks about doing more with the phone. Palm should pick a few category-defining applications to feature on the insert. Palm might feature games from Astraware, personal utility applications from SplashData, and multimedia applications from NormSoft and CoreCodec. (I also think that Palm should highlight ringtones, ringtone managers, and wallpapers, however, I doubt that the cellular carriers will allow them to get away with doing so.) When you think about it, Palm probably only has a few seconds to impress upon their customers that you can install additional software on the Centro. It might make more sense to put the Getting Started fold out poster on top and a software sticker on the inside of the box lid. I’ll leave it to Palm’s marketing department to iron out the details.

    The last thing that Palm can do to help new customers add third-party applications to the Centro is by leveraging the currently in beta, MyPalm.com customer portal. By signing up for the free Palm service, new customers will not only get access to 24×7 support for their smart device, they should also be able to browse all of the content from the Palm Software Connection application web store.

    One of the advantages of the MyPalm.com portal is the ability to download and install software on the Centro (and the Treo also) wirelessly over the air (OTA). When a customer finds an application that they would like to try or buy, they can click a button to send the software down to their device. Today, the MyPalm.com portal sends a SMS message to your phone with a download link in the body. When you tap the link, the software is downloaded to the device and the installer runs automatically. Installing software from the MyPalm.com portal onto the Centro OTA is a much easier and clearer way to install software. No one reads manuals anymore and requiring customers to try and figure out how to install software via the HotSync process is too complex for new users to have to deal with. The web portal and OTA installer is the better way to go. I really think that Palm is working on a solution like this. If you haven’t already done so, you should read A Palm Desktop Makeover.

    In conclusion, I think that Palm and third-party application software developers have an opportunity to maximize customer awareness that the Centro can do more than a 12-key feature flip phone. This will, in turn, drive more software sales. In store, in box, and online advertising efforts can be used to help drive customers to the MyPalm.com portal where a wealth of new applications await them.

    You can discuss this week’s editorial at 1SRC.com

  • centro

    Tech News World Reviews the Centro

    Tech News World has a new review of the Palm Centro for Verizon Wireless. The article reads, in part:

    “The Centro [is] a smartphone for people that are a little nervous about getting a regular smartphone. While most phones sold in the U.S. are feature phones, I believe that the trend is that someday the majority of phones will be what we all [call] ‘smartphones.’ The Centro, and the Blackberry Pearl for that matter, help move the process along for those who see the traditional smartphones as being too much,” Bill Hughes, an In-Stat analyst, told TechNewsWorld.

    Read the full review here

  • centro,  palm os

    Palm Launches Verizon Centro, Facebook

    Introducing the Palm Centro for Verizon Wireless

    Today, Palm and Verizon Wireless launched the Palm Centro smartphone. Having already debuted on Sprint and AT&T, many customers have been waiting for Centro to arrive at Verizon. At last, the wait is over.

    The Verizon Centro will only be available in a single color, cobalt blue. The Verizon Centro shares the same technical specifications set as the Sprint Centro models.

    The Verizon Centro will sell for $99 with a new two-year customer agreement and after a $70 mail in rebate. Customers will be able to purchase Centro starting June 13 (tomorrow) from Palm.com, VerizonWireless.com, and other Verizon Wireless retail locations.

    Today’s full Palm Centro for Verizon Wireless press release can be found on the Palm website. For the full Centro product information, visit the Palm Centro website.

    Palm Launches Facebook Client

    Along side today’s Centro product launch announcement; Palm released a native Facebook application for the Palm OS-based Centro, Treo 680, and 755p.

    The Facebook client can be downloaded for free over the air (OTA) directly to your Palm smartphone by visiting the address http://mobile.palm.com/facebook from the Blazer web browser.

    Facebook for Palm OS has the following features:

    • Send and receive Facebook messages, and respond to friend requests.
    • Capture video using your smartphone and post it to your Facebook profile.
    • View and post photos right from your smartphone — or snap and send off new ones.
    • Check out your friends’ photos and post a comment or two.
    • Receive News feeds, change your status, and get friends’ status updates on the go.
    • Browse friends’ profiles, post messages to their wall, and send friend requests or search for old friends through Facebook.
    • Open your Contacts and dial your friends with just one touch.

    For more information on Facebook for Palm OS, including the user guide and the desktop Palm application installer, visit the Palm Facebook website.