Palm staked its declare within the low finish of the smartphone market Thursday with a brand new gadget priced at US$99.99 with a two-year plan and rebates.
The brand new Centro options voice, textual content, prompt messaging, e-mail, Internet, contact and calendar capabilities, together with a full-color contact display screen and full keyboard. Due in mid-October, the gadget can be unique by means of Dash in the USA for 90 days. It operates on the Dash Cellular Broadband Community, and can be obtainable in onyx black or ruby crimson.
“Palm Centro has the facility of a broadband smartphone on the worth of an ordinary 12-key cellphone,” mentioned Ed Colligan, president and chief govt officer at Palm.
“Folks seeking to have all their contacts and calendar on the contact of a button, plus YouTube streaming movies and the Web can now get it in a small, cool design with the trademark Palm ease of use,” he mentioned. “In case you’re desirous about stepping as much as a smartphone, the Palm Centro must be your alternative.”
With a brand new, compact design, Centro is the smallest and lightest Palm cellphone to this point. It additionally comes with the Palm OS, that includes organizer performance resembling an in depth and built-in contacts checklist. The gadget permits customers to rapidly and simply ship textual content messages to coworkers and buddies, handle e-mail, preserve observe of their schedules, examine inventory quotes, watch movies on YouTube, preserve present on the newest information, seize and share footage, browse restaurant opinions, and get instructions — multi functional compact cellphone, Palm mentioned.
By tapping into Dash’s Cellular Broadband Community, Centro customers will acquire entry to multimedia content material resembling Dash TV, personalised information updates, image mail, cell e-mail and prompt messaging. Dash Music Supervisor lets Centro customers sideload songs and handle their music simply, whereas the gadget can also be the primary cellphone from Palm to incorporate PocketTunes Deluxe.
“Dash clients can seize the day with Centro to remain on high of e-mails, use textual content or Dash Immediate Messaging for fast solutions, handle appointments, view paperwork or to utilize a mess of different productiveness boosting and entertaining options all at SprintSpeed,” mentioned Danny Bowman, vice chairman of buyer tools for Dash.
“As the primary supplier of this distinctive cellphone, Dash is demonstrating its dedication to giving clients the most effective merchandise and repair obtainable on the Dash Cellular Broadband Community, the quickest and largest nationwide cell broadband community,” Bowman mentioned.
Concentrating on the ‘Prosumer’
“I believe it is an ideal gadget,” Chris Hazelton, senior analyst for cell gadget expertise with IDC Analysis, instructed TechNewsWorld.
“It is their first product refresh because the Treo,” Hazelton famous. “By way of dimension, it is a little bit greater than RIM’s Pearl, a little bit smaller than RIM’s Curve.”
The Centro is focusing on a brand new market, Hazelton added, however “it bumps in opposition to the markets Pearl and Curve sit in.” With its low worth, contact display screen and full keyboard, the brand new smartphone “may be very well-designed for the ‘prosumer,’ nevertheless it’s extra ‘-sumer’ than ‘pro-,'” Hazelton added, “as a result of it is actually for Web e-mail, not enterprise e-mail.”
U.S. smartphone shipments are anticipated to develop from 13.8 million in 2007 to 74.4 million in 2011, Palm says, citing information from IDC. As is usually the case in quickly rising markets, nonetheless, the competitors guarantees to be fierce.
“The Centro feels like a pleasant cellphone at a pleasant worth, nevertheless it’s being launched into a really aggressive market,” David Chamberlain, principal analyst with In-Stat, instructed TechNewsWorld.
“Until there’s one thing vastly astonishing about it, like a 10-megapixel digital camera or 16 GB of on-board reminiscence, it sounds so much just like the color-screen Treo I had 5 years in the past,” Chamberlain added. “Contact display screen does not imply iPhone — it simply means contact display screen. What would actually curiosity me is that if it had WiFi.”
Certainly, whereas all the joy over the iPhone’s contact display screen might result in a raft of imitators, “I do not suppose the iPhone is killing Palm,” Neil Strother, wi-fi analyst with , instructed TechNewsWorld. “Palm’s received massive issues, however I believe they began earlier than the iPhone.”
Palm’s working system, as an illustration, “is getting fairly stale,” Strother mentioned, and its Foleo gadget, in the meantime, by no means made it to market.
RIM’s BlackBerry gadgets together with Microsoft Home windows Cellular gadgets and entries from Samsung and Nokia are all making it troublesome for Palm, Strother added. “They have been struggling as a result of massive rivals are actually of their house,” he mentioned.
Palm has been depending on the Treo for some time, Strother famous. “This new mannequin could do superb, however the situation is that there are different telephones on the market which are successful thoughts share and a few market share, so it is powerful to compete,” he defined.
Success will rely on the gadget together with “one thing that is actually overly compelling,” Strother concluded, “however I believe Palm simply hasn’t garnered that.”
Palm shares rose 85 cents, or 5.2 %, to $17.25 in Friday morning buying and selling.