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Comments on: Two Analysts Get Particularly Negative on Palm

Tech Trader Daily points out two especially pessimistic and negative research notes on Palm today. Needham's Charlie Wolf, who has covered the company for a long time, remarks that Palm has "lost its way." He goes on to say "it's an open question whether they'll be successful" in reference to the new operating system.

Nomura's Andrew Beswick is even gloomier, writing today that "all the signs are there that Palm may not be long for this world." He says Palm does not offer enough devices or distinguishable variants, and asserts that the features of its phones are not upgraded fast enough.

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Some of us believe...

SeldomVisitor @ 4/9/2008 12:52:15 PM # Q
...the reason behind the $9 "return of capital" was because Palm management/BoD had come to the same conclusion as the Nomura "analyst" and decided it was far better to pocket the cash then expend it to keep Palm alive a little longer.

RE: Some of us believe...
hkklife @ 4/9/2008 4:06:26 PM # Q
"Some of us" being usual suspects on the the Yahoo Palm message board?



Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: Some of us believe...
SeldomVisitor @ 4/9/2008 4:26:11 PM # Q
Giggle.

RE: Some of us believe...
scstraus2 @ 4/16/2008 6:05:46 PM # Q
Christ, how could you not be negative? There has been nearly no change in the product line in more than 5 years, and completely no change in the product line in the last year.

I remember being an commodore amiga owner in the 90's, thinking, how could they manage to screw up the huge lead they had early on. And I'm watching it again.

There's absolutely nothing to be positive about in this story.

And it pains me to say it because I've owned 8 palms in the last 10 years, but even I can't stick it out this long. I'm getting the samsung i780 next. The dream is over.

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Good article

Dan Georges @ 4/9/2008 1:00:10 PM # Q
This article pretty much sums it up.
No emotion based on Palm loyalty - just business basics in a nutshell.

For what it's worth, I'm very loyal to Palm, but I agree with Wolf's assessment.

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."

-Einstein

RE: Good article
hkklife @ 4/9/2008 2:58:18 PM # Q
I'm loyal to Palm as well--to the bitter end, in fact-but it's honestly due only to the PIM apps & ~12 years of accumulated PIM data and registered apps. And the UI, despite its age, is familiar like a well-worn glove and certainly accounts for something but that too is about to reach the point of no return even for long-term loyalists such as myself.

For the most part, Palm has brought all of this misery upon themselves. They were slow to modernize the original Pilot, slow to make use of the OS' TCP/IP stack, slow to adopt color, changed Hotsync connectors and accessory sizes on a constant basis, were reluctant to add more memory to their devices, and never did anything to revolutize the standard PDA formfactor past the phenomenal Palm V & m500. More recently (since '01/'02), the "new" Palm has been horribly slow to change with the times (integrated wi-fi, large-screen support, various smartphone formfactors etc) and move past FrankenGarnet and ho-hum "me too" WinMob devices.

If you look at all of their successes since the '99 or so, it's basically been a case of accidental success, where Palm happened to have the right product at the right time (Palm V before everthing else went "slim", Handspring's dying gift of the Treo 600/650 when everyone else was pushing clunky smartphone & under-spec'd dumbphones, and the Centro as a cheap <$100 smartphone right before the market explodes with more compelling low-end offerings) or simply coasting on the goodwill of the once-huge installed base of Palm OS users, which in itself has probably beeen contracting ever since 2000 or so.

P.S. Does anyone recall off-hand when Palm OS held its maximum share of the market? Largest installed base? I'd wager it was 1999 to 2000.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: Good article
Ervool @ 4/10/2008 4:14:29 PM # Q

Don't be so harsh on Palm, being right three times with the right product at the right time is not really "accidental".

I mostly agree with what you say, me still carrying my TX alongside my BlackBerry because of the addiction to certain apps.

Plam was a great company that lost its focus because of bad management. They still got some hits, but I don't foresee many years of Palm being a big force on the market.



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Someone STOP the Finns!!!!

mikecane @ 4/9/2008 2:30:43 PM # Q
Dear God. Cane we get a massive earthquake or something to stop this cross-bred abomination?

I think I saw this prophesied in Revelation: The Beast or Whore of Babylon.

http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/04/please-tell-me.html

So, Palmers who hate the iPhone will wind up ... with the Finns?

Have some DIGNITY, people!!

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Sadly, it's a correct assumption.

imfallen_angel @ 4/9/2008 2:39:34 PM # Q
I've said it for years now...(sadly)

I love my Palm(s), and hope to always be able to have them around.

I'm still with my Zire 71, and have invested in a few extra units in case it dies (I now alternate between them).

I've considered for years to upgrade, but I haven't... why? Honestly, their switching to again, another connector. I just do not want to have to re-buy all my cables, my keyboards, etc.

The biggest problem with Palm has been that they never invested enough in publicity. Had they, they could be kings of the portable media devices.

And when they get a good product/model out, it's a repeating fact that the next ones will be very dull.

The Zire 71 was a breakthrough in many ways, while the 72, was just a upgrade, which the switching of ports/connector killed a LOT of sales.

The following Zires without the SD slot was another way to shoot themselves in the foot.

Had they showed their unit's potential for multimedia, and did something about it, they'd be ahead of almost everyone. Why? simple... my Zire 71 still outdoes most media players for playing music and videos. And ask anyone that doesn't have one (and many that do), and they'll say that they did not have a clue that Palms could do these things. Too many view Palms as organizers/electronic agendas, when, with proper software, they are/can be a laptop replacement, and a full media player.



RE: Sadly, it's a correct assumption.
hkklife @ 4/9/2008 3:08:49 PM # Q
Palm began its trend of sideways updates starting wit the Palm III which was hardly changed from the Palm Pilot Pro & Personal. The Palm V was (and still is) a phenomenal device at the time and can be excused for basically rewrapping the Palm III innards in a sleek new shell. But Palm missed the boat on both screen quality & lack of multimedia functionality with the m500 line and then stumbled badly again with the T|T and OS 5. Ever since then, nearly every one of Palm's "upgraded" devices have usually had a few improvements mixed in with a few downgrades or just repackaged the same specs (700p to 755p, 755p to Centro) in a smaller/cheaper formfactor.

It's funny how Palm's lived for so long by virtue of their marketing department's smoke'n mirrors tactics. But on the other hand, they've failed to really market their devices in a hands-on manner (strong software bundles, specific examples of the functionality available through add-on hardware & software).

Back in the days of expensive flash media, Palm could have marketed the Zire 31 (or a similar device) as a cheap organizer/photo viewer/game machine/MP3 player with a slightly stronger software bundle and better d-pad.

The T5/TX could have (and still could be) marketed as a "wide-screen media companion" if they just had more standard storage capacity or supported high capacity SDHC cards and Palm Desktop had some kind of integrated media browser/transfer support.

Likewise, a larger-screened Palmtop w/ keyboard (think Nokia N810 or a T|C on steroids) with the proper BT DUN support could have made a phenomenal pocket-sized "mobile phone companion" YEARS before the Fooleo debacle.

Heck, instead of fooling around with retail stores, Palm could/should have scooped up the remnants of Tapwave, worked in conjunction with Handera, and morphed into having two lines of products: Archos-style multimedia products with PIM functionality sold at retail + the more conservative Treo smartphones line.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: Sadly, it's a correct assumption.
Gekko @ 4/9/2008 4:34:00 PM # Q

Responding to questions from New York Times correspondent John Markoff at a Churchill Club breakfast gathering Thursday morning, Colligan laughed off the idea that any company - including the wildly popular Apple Computer - could easily win customers in the finicky smart-phone sector.

"We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone," he said. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in.'"

---

"Death can come swiftly to a market leader. By the time you have lost the positive-feedback cycle it's often too late to change what you've been doing, and all of the elements of a negative spiral come into play." - Bill Gates, "The Road Ahead", Chapter 3

"In this business, by the time you realize you're in trouble, it's too late to save yourself. Unless you're running scared all the time, you're gone." - Bill Gates

"Only the paranoid survive." - Andy Grove

RE: Sadly, it's a correct assumption.
MikeT5 @ 4/10/2008 10:09:54 AM # Q
I have never posted to this website, but have learned much from reading the comments of so many of you. I now have a PIC account, but I would describe myself as an average palm user. I am a professional, hold a doctorate in my field, and have owned two palm PDAs over the last eight years: a IIIc that died and, its replacement, a T5, which has been a workhorse for nearly four years.

I have been tempted to try a Treo or Centro smartphone, since the idea of carrying a single, do-it-all device is appealing, but there are a few reasons why I am sticking with a classic, Palm PDA device, and carrying a separate cell phone.

Firstly, the T5 is easy and familiar, uncomplicated, and meets my needs well. I use
it on the road, on flights, and in cafes. With office software, I am able to use my
T5, with a portable keyboard, as a laptop replacement. I know this can be done equally as well on a Palm smartphone, but with a PDA I beneft from additional screen real estate, which allows me to landscape spreadsheets, web content, etc., and is especially useful in my "document-centric" world. I use my T5 to plan travel and check flight status and currency rates in real time (with hotspot access).

Secondly, although my use of email is confined to hotspots and the palm wifi-card, I can can get email on my small cell phone as a backup, and can access TV, video, GPS, and the Web on it as well. I know all of this can be done on my T5, or on a Treo or Centro, with the right software, but if my "busineess first" PDA goes out, I still have a cell phone on hand to connect me with the world while my PDA is being repaired or replaced. Conversely, I imagine there are fewer hardships or headaches in replacing a defective cell phone than hoping my palm SD backup, when uploaded to a new and different palm device, will be a seamless event. Ideally, I would like to "bluetooth" my T5 with a compatable cell phone for additional email support, but my carrier does not offer this option, and I do not wish to change my carrier at this time.

I've "toyed" with a Pocket PC, attemptng to give it a satisfactory workout in a limited period of time-which probably isn't fair. Many of these devices run on
different (and sometimes incompatible) flavors of the MS mobile OS, or whatever
Microsoft calls it these days. Frankly, I'm not impressed with these devices.
Multi-tasking aside, they are less intuitive to use. For example, you have to tap
into the guts of an MS PDA or smartphone to close programs with its task manager. The "x" icon which, on most platforms, closes programs, doesn't do this on MS PDAs or smartphones-unless you're using a device marketed by an OEM that has bundled its units with an in-house or 3rd party task switching/closing utility. Ditto for changing settings and preferences on the MS platform. You dig around, hope you've marked the right spot, and pray you can find it again, if you need to retrieve it. This isn't a convenient way to use a mobile device when pressed for time at an airport, train station, or swaying in the back seat of a taxi that is careening through Chicago's Loop or Manhattan Island. For the most part, these are not problems on the palm platform. Perhaps I am over-simplifying the matter, but having fewer settings on my T5 is a "plus," as I will happily cede a little "bling" for usability and stability. I hope I never have to contend with a faulty registry on a palm device.

In my limited experience, I have found that MS devices tend to crash more often than palms. In fairness, I was ready to toss my T5 until Palm offered its last OS ROM update a few years ago. Until then, my T5 was a "crash magnet." Load a program,
change a setting, breathe the wrong way, time for a hard reset. Now, I can honestly
say my T5 is rock solid and one of my most reliable pieces of technology, as ancient as it is.

The iphone and BB factors: Ok. Without doubt, the iPhone is mega cool, amazingly fast, stylus free, and gets you everywhere you need to be on the Web easier than
anything I've seen on the market. Email is brilliant, as is music and media. Would
you expect less from Steve Jobs? The problem: As a mobile phone, the iPhone is a brick by today's standards, the equivalent of a WWII walkie-talkie. It is useless
for work since I can't create, edit, file, beam, print, or delete a single MS-compatible document. No software I know exists to do this on an iPhone-at least not now. Blackberry, by far, is one of the best email solutions to hit the market in its various forms, and probably is second to none for administrative control in business. I know there are excellent office programs available for use on BBs, but I cannot name one BB owner/user who has one installed.

No doubt, the palm OS, which, admittedly, is long-in-the-tooth, deperately needs a
makeover. For my needs, however, I'll wait for a suitable FrankenGarnet replacement. My advice to Palm, for whatever its worth, is to do it right next time. Don't replace one OS-patched-monster with another. Don't make a consumer regret his or her next palm purchase. When you release a device into the marketplace, make damn well sure it works, and works well, and has met all reasonable testing conditions and situations. When you ask loyal patrons to shell-out hundreds for a device, make it reliable. Too many of us waited far too long for the ROM update needed to make a T5 work, and the horror stories that I've read on PIC and elsewhere, about the delays for the Treo 700 update almost made the purchase of a rotary dial telephone on ebay with a real "pic," not a stylus, look good. What you've done in the marketplace, Palm, is shameful, and a hideous business practice. It has alienated, infuriated, and disillusioned a sizeable portion of your customer base, which probably has turned to other solutions.

That said, with all of the add-ons, plug-ins, programs, SD and GPS cards that are
available on the palm platform, one can almost infinitely tweak and decorate their
vanilla OS, with untold functionality-even with "windows" when using some 3rd party launching utilities-and tools to do a multiplicity of things that harness the power, features, and accessories of a palm device-whether on a T5, TX, Zire, or whatever palm device you own-making them standout, even today, as good business
solutions, which Palm must make better-much sooner than later.

RE: Sadly, it's a correct assumption.
mikecane @ 4/10/2008 10:33:23 AM # Q
>>>the iPhone is a brick by today's standards

???!!!??? WTF^100

How can you laud the large screen and then complain that it's big?! Have you actually held one?

You want BRICK? Get a LifeDrive!

RE: Sadly, it's a correct assumption.
hkklife @ 4/10/2008 11:36:06 AM # Q
Palm OS is flexible as far as customizations and add-ons but also is years past its prime and poorly supported/unstable. With there essentially being ONE single current/viable/popular Palm OS model remaining on the market (Centro), Palm is doing all it can to snuff out whatever life remains in the Palm ecosystem.

The iPhone has phenomenal hardware/software integration and the best mobile browsing experience but suffers from a form over function in both the software & hardware (Laughable PIM apps, overly integrated into iTunes, no stylus, no memory expansion, no removable battery, no A2DP, no IR, no voice dialing, no d-pad for genuine gaming, no option/alternative for stroke-based character recognition etc etc). Still, Steve & Al should never be underestimated, especially with the pending arrival of 3G iPhones and the Apple's fanbase of zealots.

RIM OS is still in desperate of more multimedia oomph and touchscreen functionality and many users remain wary of the frequent outages of the BB network. Can RIM sustain the influx of new customers, especially the notoriously fickle consumer types?

WM is slow, unintuitive, bloated and still tends to be unstable. But it probably is still the best choice from of the currently available lot for a Palm OS power user looking for a full-featured OS upgrade path. At least WM enjoys strong 3rd party support w/ lots of available add-on software etc. A few more devices like the SE Xperia X1 and WM might finally start delivering on the promises offered by Win CE over a decade ago.

Let's face it, folks. There is no perfect mobile OS at the moment and there likely never will be. ALP really might end up being the best option for current Palm OS looking to move on-at least judging by the press coverage I've read about ALP and what Lefty has posted here. At this point, I honestly don't think that we'll ever see a Nova-based device on store shelves, especially since Palm appears to be circling the wagons as are rumored to be EOLing the Treo 680 and 755p. I guess they're going to try to put all of their eggs in the Centro and 800w baskets and hope for the best.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: Sadly, it's a correct assumption.
mikecane @ 4/10/2008 9:25:19 PM # Q
>>>A few more devices like the SE Xperia X1 and WM might finally start delivering on the promises offered by Win CE over a decade ago.

Are you drunk or posting while asleep?

The iPhone gets slammed for being "too big" - and you smack your lips over the frikkin XPERIA?!!?

RE: Sadly, it's a correct assumption.
hkklife @ 4/11/2008 11:00:04 AM # Q
No, I'm neither (yet). The Xperia just looks to be the FIRST NO COMPROMISES, no-holds-barred smartphone (regardless of OS) that can finally the void for die hard PDA users looking for something other than tired 320x320 and 240x320 smartphones! Since no one has really fondled the Xperia yet at length, we have to rely on the handful of hands-on impressions posted so far...and I trust Dieter's opinion of it being the best WM hardware so far:
http://wmexperts.com/reviews/smartphones/review_first_impressions_of_th.html
If they would JUST relent and do a CDMA version of it!!

P.S. Anyone lugging a LifeDrive around-regardless of CF mods-shouldn't be seriously concerned about size/weight!

P.P.S. If you've paid attention to my rantings in the past, I've never knocked the newer Treos (680, 750, 755p) for their size. But I still feel that's the ideal formfactor for a square-screened full QWERTY smartphones. The Centro is too small (LCD & keyboard) for anyone over 30 to use enjoyably. The Centro's FF would make much more sense if the thing was all 320x480 screen + a handful of hard buttons.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: Sadly, it's a correct assumption.
Gekko @ 4/13/2008 5:23:09 PM # Q

"A business fights against commoditization every day. You have to fight with product innovation, distribution innovation, process innovation, technology innovation and people innovation. If you're not fighting on those five fronts, the gravity of commoditization will get to you - it's only a matter of time." - Genworth Financial CEO Mike Fraizer

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Still got a chance

palmit @ 4/9/2008 10:16:24 PM # Q
I think 2009 will be the year that makes or breaks Palm!

RE: Still got a chance
hkklife @ 4/10/2008 11:17:23 AM # Q
No, 2008--specifically the release of the 800w (CDMA)/Drucker (GSM) will be Palm's make or break device. If the market doesn't jump all over the long-awaited WM 6.1, 320x320, wi-fi & GPS-enabled Treo we've been clamoring for over the past few years, Palm's sunk. They still might end up toast but if the 800w hits the market with a resounding thud and/or the carriers aren't getting all hyped up over it (just look at how many delays it's seen so far), then you can stick a fork in 'em before Nova ever sees the light of day.


Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: Still got a chance
palmit @ 4/10/2008 2:27:46 PM # Q
I still say 2009 will be the year. New OS based devices will have a bigger impact on Palm as complared to the 800w release.

RE: 800w
madmaxmedia @ 4/10/2008 4:56:54 PM # Q
"No, 2008-specifically the release of the 800w (CDMA)/Drucker (GSM) will be Palm's make or break device."

If this is true (and I don't dispute that it isn't), I feel like Palm is probably already sunk. That their big make-or-break device is a Windows Mobile device bodes very poorly for Palm, regardless of how well the 800w does.

They're not even particularly good at hardware to be relying on WinMob devices, regardless of whatever zen-like tweaks they do to the OS.

When we would we ever see a iPhonew? Never.

I don't even know what I should be expecting or hoping for with the next Palm OS. It's still on for 2009, right?

RE: Still got a chance
TooMuch @ 4/10/2008 9:38:46 PM # Q
palmit said, "I still say 2009 will be the year. New OS based devices will have a bigger impact on Palm as complared to the 800w release."

Stand strong. You are right. Every one of these people still believe or they wouldn't waste their time posting here again & again & again.

Palm is going to blow their way back to viability in the near future. Do you really think that the new executive leadership (Apple crossovers) and investors (Bono, etc.) would continue to find new teammates if they didn't know something that was worth the risk of getting on board what many call a "sinking ship?" Here's the word...

This time next year everyone will be gawking at a new OS and hardware using words like "innovative, comprehensive, comeback, Palm's back, zen..."

RE: Still got a chance
TooMuch @ 4/10/2008 9:41:36 PM # Q
"...still believe"

or at least want to believe

RE: Still got a chance
scstraus2 @ 4/16/2008 6:11:34 PM # Q
Palm won't do jack in 2008, that's already patently obvious. I know I won't get a 3g or wifi palmos device so I'm buying a WM one. Probably by the time 2009 rolls around the iphone will have the apps and corporate email support I need. Palm would have to really pull something magic out of their asses at this point, and let's be honest, does anyone really see that happening?

Reply to this comment

How much software has Palm written in the last five years?

DrewT3 @ 4/10/2008 8:55:06 AM # Q
Palm's hopes for the future rely on lots of new software (new OS, new apps, new desktop client).

How much software has Palm written in last five years?
- Foleo OS and apps

Anything else? I know Garnet has had a few minor upgrades to it's PIM apps but were these done by Palm/PalmOne or Access/PalmSource?



RE: How much software has Palm written in the last five years?
mikecane @ 4/10/2008 10:34:20 AM # Q
How much software has Palm *thrown away* in the past five years?

RE: How much software has Palm written in the last five years?
LiveFaith @ 4/10/2008 9:32:36 PM # Q
Enhanced PIM apps were a PalmOne creation and not owned or offered by Palmsource or a part of their iterations of Garnet. Kinda makes you shake your head when you realize how little has been done by Palmsource/Access too. Not updated by Palm in years.


Now, this is something to ponder considering Palm, software, and the alleged Nova OS. Take a look at the little app offered from Palm called "Software" and "Get Sportz". These are written by Bluefish Wireless the "about" screen says. The graphical interface on these apps is absolutely gorgeous and functional. Check them out. These are simple do little web client type apps. But, my question is ... did Palm who offers these to Treo users control the look and feel in order to begin building the feel of their coming platform?

If you're going to offer enhancement software, does it not make sense to demand a common look and feel? I know this might be a stretch, but what else have they created / directed lately. It looks and works great. If Nova actually came off this slick (and foundationally stable), then it would garner some serious looks.


Pat Horne

RE: How much software has Palm written in the last five years?
TooMuch @ 4/10/2008 10:27:10 PM # Q
"If Nova actually came off this slick (and foundationally stable), then it would garner some serious looks."

Well said!

Palm lacks just a couple of really small things like this (look, multitask, speed, stability, etc.) from being more viable than any other OS out there now. Palm does a lot of things REALLY well already. Imagine that...even while people gripe about a woeful Palm, they are still in the game at the moment. How can a company that hasn't innovated an OS in a decade and hardware in years be in the game still?

Palm products do a whole lot more right now than most other platforms!!! They have a GREAT foundation in the products they have...not to mention a lot of peripheral and software developers still with them. For all the clamoring about how the Centro isn't making enough money, what the Centro is doing is giving them the interim moment they need. For crying out loud, the Centro is selling even though the OS is OLD as dirt. ;)

Palm's comeback is going to look like a "miracle," but the hindsight discussion will quickly drill down to how the "business" turned around. What they have done in the last 9 months has looked like complete failure. There were tough/hard decisions but wise ones. They could've held on another 18 months with the then plan and then sell the brand that was leftover. Instead they chose to look invest their future. Yes, it's all on the line but don't be surprised when this turns around over the next 18 months with a hot OS and svelte new hardware, including a perfect matching Foleo.

Because Palm has a great foundation people like myself continue to comeback to Palm products as they stand now. In the last few months I've tried a Blackjack, BB Curve and iPhone. I went back to my Treo 680 despite my frustration with old look, etc. Why? 'Cuz it still does comprehensively more, and fairly efficiently, than the others. -Recently, I had my Treo 680 stolen. So, after using a Blackjack from the office for a week, I couldn't take it anymore. My new black Centro came in this week and we're cruisin' again. :)

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