VersaMail Update Released for Palm Centro

Palm has announced the release of a VersaMail update that improves Gmail compatibility on the Palm Centro.

  • Enhancements to Gmail IMAP compatibility and an updated setup wizard with the new Gmail settings
  • Improvements to help eliminate the silent failure of email when using Microsoft’s Direct Push Technology via Exchange ActiveSync in VersaMail. Some users have reported that their email stops arriving, but they are not notified to press “Sync” to re-enable Direct Push Technology. This update helps eliminate the occurrence of this scenario.

The VersaMail update is available at Palm.

Source: Palm Blog via EverythingCentro

Palm Makes The Pink Centro Official

Palm today began offering a pink version of the Palm Centro on Sprint Wireless.

Pink Palm Centro
Pink Palm Centro part of Sprint Wireless’ Tools for Love promotion

Click to enlarge.

The pink Centro is part of a larger multi-cellphone promotion "Tools for Love" being run by Sprint in advance of Valentine’s Day. There are no major changes in technical specifications, but expect this color to generate more Centro sales. The Palm Centro has been a surprising hit for both Palm and Sprint Wireless, thanks in part to the massive ad campaign and price point. The pink Palm Centro, like it’s black and red predecessors, is available for $99 after rebates at Palm. A pink Centro without contract retails for $399 and is available from Palm.

Palm Has Designs On Improving 2008

With CES next week, here’s a quick look at what might be on tap for the Treo maker in 2008.

Centro Expansion

One of the few bright spots for Palm was the release of the Palm Centro (see Palm Centro review). The bite-sized smartphone was nothing more than a tiny Treo, but the value packaged Centro priced at only $99 was a surprising hit for Palm. Expect Palm to capatilize with releases on AT&T Wireless and possibly Verizon early in 2008. There is also a rumor that Palm and Sprint Wireless will announce the release of a pink Palm Centro as early as next week.

Pink Palm Centro
Rumored pink Palm Centro

New Hardware Design

There isn’t an official word from Palm that a Treo 800w exists, but there are no shortage of speculation making the rounds regarding the next generation Windows Mobile Treo. The Treo 800w, and we’re speculating on the name, should represent the first major shift in the hardware design since the Treo 600. All signs point to a slimmer, lighter Treo complete with Windows Mobile 6.1. Given the strong relationship in the past between Palm and Sprint, don’t be surprised if they are the exclusive carrier for a short period of time. The new Treo 800w could be announced as early as next week with a Q1 release.

Treo 800w
Treo 800w should bring much needed changes to hardware design

What about the Palm OS?

Palm is currently working on their next generation Palm OS, based upon the Linux operating system. Unfortunately, the OS has been continously delayed. The latest from Palm is to expect a release before the end of 2008. Combined with a new hardware design, the upcoming Linux based Treo is undoubtedly the most anticipated Treo. With competition from RIM, Apple and Motorola, it’s critical that Palm is able to deliver a new Palm OS and form factor by years end. Apple is expected to release a 3G iPhone, dubbed iPhone 2 and RIM is rumored to be releasing the BlackBerry 9000. Competition among smartphones was fierce in 2007 and Palm can expect increased competition in 2008. With the Treo 755p released on both Sprint and Verizon, it’s hard to imagine Palm releasing any new ‘old’ form factor Treos in 2008. It’s clear that Palm has gotten the message about creating smaller, thinner smartphones. The Treo 500v, released in Europe is substantially more compact than current shipping Treo smartphones in the US. As of now, there are no plans to bring the Treo 500 to the US. Ed Colligan, CEO of Palm, recently stated that Palm was "done with adjustments" to existing products and was focused on "breakthrough" products. That breakthrough product could be a Linux based Treo by the end of 2008.

Treo 500v
Palm Treo 500v released in Europe

Critical Year Upcoming For Palm

It’s certainly been a tough year for Palm. The release of the iPhone, increased competition in the consumer segment from RIM and the lack of product refresh for the Treo line has made for a difficult year. On an encouraging note, there is an increased awareness of smartphones in general, but 2008 will bring even greater competition with the release of Google’s Android platform and new releases from Apple and RIM. Palm appears to be focused on delivering their next generation OS and the cancellation of Foleo is further indication the company is focused on their core business of smartphones. Former Apple executive Jon Rubenstein, who played a key role in the development of the iPod and iMac, joined Palm as an executive chairman as part of the recapitalization deal with Elevation Partners. Rubenstein is expected to play a vital role in "leading the next phase of the smartphone and mobile-computing markets." Unlike previous years, the company can no longer afford any misteps, as customers have more choices when it comes to selecting a smartphone. With Palm’s extensive carrier relationships, infusion of new leadership and focus on delivering "revolutionary products", the upcoming year does show great promise. The question remains, "Can Palm deliver on their promises?"

Everything Centro Offers First Look Video at Palm Centro Smartphone

Our new sister site Everything Centro is still days away from an official launch, but no need to delay
a first look video at the new Palm Centro smartphone.

For members of our forums, you will automatically become a member of Everything Centro, making it easy to discuss either of Palm’s smartphones. Starting this weekend, we will re-open our Centro forums. Stay tuned for an announcement regarding the official launch of Everything Centro, offering complete coverage of Palm’s latest new smartphone.

Palm Centro Preview

This week, Palm announced the new Centro smartphone at the Digital Life Conference in NY. While this smartphone might carry a new name, it’s not all that different from the Treo.

Introducing the Centro

The Centro represents the smallest, lightest and most inexpensive smartphone from Palm. There is nothing groundbreaking in terms of specifications, but rather it’s a neatly packaged smartphone and more importantly it ships at an attractive price point. Palm is positioning the Centro as a device that toes the line between work and fun. As a business phone, you can use the Centro to open access a Word or Excel document, access your work email and more. With the new form factor, Palm is banking on individuals who wouldn’t necessarily carry a BlackBerry or even Treo for that matter due to the size or even association that comes with those brands. Palm’s site proudly proclaims the Centro Smartphone is "your shortcut to happy hour". Texting has become increasing popular among young people and Palm’s reknowned threaded SMS client comes bundled on the Centro. The integrated IM application that debuted on the Treo 755p also comes standard making the Centro an excellent all-around communication device. Essentially, when work ends, Palm believes Centro customers will still find it is still a "cool" phone.

Palm Centro
Palm Centro

Click to enlarge.

Why Centro?

Palm explained the Centro name revolves around the new smartphone being the "center of your life". At the heart of the Centro is a Treo, so why the new name? In attempting to capture a new audience, in many ways Palm is distancing themselves from the Treo brand. The marketing surrounding the launch of the Centro is erily similar to that of the Treo 680. While the Treo 680 has experienced moderate success, despite the lack of advertising from AT&T, it also is a "perfect smartphone for the CEO of the household" or a "young professional" who might not be able to afford a Treo 755p or Treo 750. Changing the name to Centro allows Palm and Sprint to shed any pre-conceived notions that a potential customer might have about the Treo brand. RIM has done a remarkable job (no pun intended) with the marketing of their consumer devices and BlackBerry is directly associated with being a business phone. The Curve and Pearl have fun names and consumers have responded as both devices has seen great success in the marketplace. Same software, different marketing message. Both of those devices are a success in part to the slick marketing done by RIM and the associated wireless carriers. Personally, I believe Palm should have leveraged the brand equity of the Treo name and used Centro as the model name. Oddly enough, there is nothing on the new device that labels it a Centro? If you are going to build a new brand, then you need to promote it "on the device". I suppose most who see this new device out at a happy hour will call it the "new" Treo.

Palm Centro
Comparing the size of the Palm Centro to the iPhone

Click to enlarge.

Stacking Up the Centro Software Bundle vs the Treo 755p

The software bundle included with the Palm Centro is virtually identical to the Palm Treo 755p. Outside of some minor tweaks to the OS, the inclusion of Soduko and an upgrade to Versamail (now known as Mail) and Docs To Go, you’d be hardpressed to find many changes from the Treo 755p bundle. Disturbing is the lack of the Phone application that shipped with the Treo 680 last year. Clearly, this phone is being marketed to the same demographic as the Treo 680. There is nothing more "central" to a smartphone than the Phone application. The Treo 680 Phone application offers such a vastly easier (and most would say better) user experience. Apple’s iPhone uses a similar phone application offering tabs for favorites, recent calls, etc. When questioned about the ommission, Palm’s was non-committal as to the reason why they could not include it in the Centro. Clearly, this is a missed opportunity.

Threaded SMS on Centro
Palm has included threaded SMS on the Centro

Click to enlarge.

Centro Design

The Centro design is a mixed bag. The back of the phone is slick and appears to be very scratch resistant. The finish is glossy and both colors (Ruby Red, Black Onyx) feature a sparkle which might not appeal to everyone. The phone is definitely smaller than previous Treo smartphones. Critics will claim it still doesn’t compare to the ultra-thin Moto Q, but the Centro features true one-handed operation. Rubberized finishes seemed to be the fad in smartphones, offering individuals more grip and potentially saving your smartphone from drops. According to Palm, the decision to go with a glossy finish was to make the Centro more "pocket friendly". The keyboard uses sheet key technology, a first for Palm, but this has been seen in Sony Ericcson phones and the new Moto Q 9. For my money, the Treo 750 has the best QWERTY keyboard, but with a smaller form factor comes compromises. All in all, Palm has done a good job with the keyboard given the size of the device. Treo owners will find it cramped, but remember Centro was created for a new audience, one that probably is coming from a standard 12-key phone. Similar to the typical iPhone user, the Centro will represent a vast improvement over their previous phone’s input.

Palm Centro keyboard

Click to enlarge.

Palm Centro vs iPhone
Not the size of the smaller Centro vs the iPhone

Click to enlarge.

Overall

I’ve only spent 20 minutes or so with the Centro, but the last five years with a Treo. There is no mistaking the bloodlines between these two products. The user experience is no different when it comes to software as the bundle is virtually identical to the Treo 755p. The device is smaller, yet lacks the sex appeal of the similarly priced Moto Q (Sprint Moto Q retails for $149 after rebates) and even the larger Treo 755p ($199 after rebate). Although it’s thicker than the competition, the Centro boasts true one-handed operation. While thin might be in, it’s not the be all end all. The Centro does not feel clunky and Palm has delivered a truly pocket friendly device. The Palm OS is in desperate need of an update, but still offers ease-of-use not found in most smartphones, outside of the higher priced iPhone. Legendary ease of use, pocket friendly, fast network and aggressive pricing strategy aside, the Palm Centro’s success lies in Sprint’s committment to generating awareness of this new breed of smartphone and acceptance of this new design by the new demographic Palm is targeting. Discuss this new smartphone in our Palm Centro forums.

The NEW Palm Centro smartphone is now available for pre-order for $99 at palm.com.

Palm Introduces Centro Smart Device

Palm today announced the forthcoming release of the Palm Centro smartphone available in mid-October on Sprint Wireless.

Palm Centro
Palm Centro running integrated IM application

Click to enlarge.

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 Centro 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.

Palm Centro
Palm Centro in ruby red

Click to enlarge.

With Centro, Sprint customers can quickly and easily text co-workers and friends, manage email, keep track of their schedules, check stock quotes, watch videos on YouTube, keep current on the latest news, capture and share pictures, browse restaurant reviews on Yelp, and get directions on Google Maps–all in one small, compact phone. Centro operates on the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network — the fastest and largest national mobile broadband network — giving customers a fast and flexible experience with entertainment and resources on the go.

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.

Centro was designed as a great phone, messaging, and organizational device, and is incredibly easy to use. It allows users to easily connect with friends, family and co-workers by voice, email or text. And with its full keyboard, Centro makes it easy to quickly and efficiently type text messages and respond to emails, communicating complete thoughts and ideas. Since Centro comes with the Palm O, it offers all of the great organizer functionality that Palm is renowned for, such as a detailed and integrated Contacts list. Also, the simple and handy calendar makes it easier to manage increasingly busy lives, whether it’s juggling business meetings or keeping track of school activities.

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.

"Palm Centro has the power of a broadband smartphone at the price of a standard 12-key phone," said Ed Colligan, president and chief executive officer of Palm, Inc. "People looking to have all their contacts and calendar at the touch of a button, plus YouTube streaming videos and the Internet can now get it in a small, cool design with the trademark Palm ease of use. If you’re thinking about stepping up to a smartphone, the Palm Centro should be your choice."

The NEW Palm Centro smartphone is now available for pre-order for $99 at palm.com.

Sprint Promotion Site Appears for Palm Centro

In advance of today’s announcement, Sprint has gone live with a site promoting the new Palm Centro.

The new Palm Centro will “power up” starting on October 14th at a price of $99 after rebate (requires 2-year service agreement
and purchase of a $25 data plan or higher. The Palm Centro will be available in black or red. For more details, please visit
http://www.moreyous.com and stay tuned as Everything Treo will provide full coverage of today’s press event at Digital Life.

Palm Centro
Palm Centro website appears

Click to enlarge.

Source: EngadgetMobile

Palm and Sprint Announce DigitalLife Press Conference

Palm, Inc. and Sprint have invites credentialed media and market analysts to attend a press conference at DigitalLife on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007 and accessible online via a video webcast. It’s expected they will announce the new Palm Centro. Stay tuned for on site coverage.

Live Webcast Details

Palm and Sprint invite credentialed media, as well as market and financial analysts, not attending DigitalLife to join a one-hour live, streamed webcast about this announcement on Thursday, Sept. 27, beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

The live webcast can be accessed using the following link: http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=42256

A replay will be available using the link above at approximately 4 p.m. EDT on Sept. 27.

Palm Centro Photo Leaked

A new photo has emerged of the Palm Centro, courtesy of our friends at Mobility Today who received this image early this morning.

Palm Centro
Palm Centro photo leaked

Click to enlarge.

The Palm Centro, codenamed Gandolf, has been the target of much criticism after blurry photos started making the rounds a few months ago. I suppose those opinions might change upon seeing the finished product. Palm confirmed last week
that they were indeed planning on releasing the Palm Centro smartphone on Sprint this fall. According to a leaked release sheet, the Palm Centro 690 will be released on October 14th. Aimed at a younger demographic, the Palm Centro will be priced at only $99 after rebate.

Discuss the Palm Centro in our forums.

Source:Mobility Today

Related Stories

Sprint Shows New Palm Centro Smartphone At Tech Summit

At a Tech Summit in Reston, Virginia today, Sprint gave a sneak peek of new phones coming this fall including the Palm Centro smartphone.

The Palm Centro smartphone was shown to Sprints financial audience, as well as a small number of press and market analysts. Photos and availability were not released. Here are some highlights regarding the new Palm Centro available through Sprint later this year.

Palm Centro Features

  • Smallest Palm OS smartphone to date
  • Runs on EVDO network
  • New design features a full keyboard and touch screen

When released, the new Palm Centro from Sprint will be targeted to entry-level smartphone owners. As more information becomes available, we’ll pass it along. Discuss the new Palm Centro in our forums.

Source: Palm