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GSM AT&T Palm Centro Spotted

Palm CentroPalm's latest Treo-derived smartphone is the Garnet-powered CDMA Centro, announced last week for Sprint. When the question turned to the device appearing on other CDMA carriers or in a GSM version, Palm only replied that the device would enjoy a 3-month period of exclusivity for Sprint beginning October 14th and lasting through the holiday season.

Despite Palmís current stance on the matter, a handful of leaked images and videos have been reported over the past few months indicating that a GSM-based version of the Centro is indeed in the works. These leaked images of a GSM version of the Centro were removed at the request of Palm's legal department yet no mention was made of a GSM version of the Centro at last week's announcement. In addition to last month's images from PDAFrance of the GSM Centro on the Orange network, the latest leaked images from GearDiary show a black Centro clearly running Garnet and displaying AT&T Music and AT&T Mail apps onscreen. The GearDiary post also (likely mistakenly) refers to this device as the Treo 500p, although a "My Cento" app is in plain sight.

GSM Palm Centro AT&TIn addition to the latest GSM Centro rumors, as recently-revealed FCC documents do indicate that a quad-band Treo 500 version of the recent Treo 500v running Windows Mobile Standard may be in the works.

Presumably, a US-spec version of the GSM Centro/500p would contain a quad band GSM radio supporting the 850, 900, 1800, and 1900MHZ frequencies. One point of contention by fans of the Treo 680ís revised phone app is that no recent CDMA Treo (700p, 755p, Centro) has been the recipient of this new app featuring a larger, revised dial pad and contacts manager. As seen in the leaked images, the GSM Centro looks to feature the 680ís updated phone screen. If so, this would correspond with comments made by a Palm rep at the Digital Life show in NYC last week that the new phone app is hard-coded into the GSM chipset of the Treo 680 and would require substantial effort (read: cost) to port to the CDMA Treos.

To date no pricing, release date or carrier availability has yet been mentioned. Itís also unknown at this time if a GSM Centro would compliment or supplant the existing year-old Treo 680 in the lineup of Palmís traditional US GSM partner, AT&T Wireless/Cingular.

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not so sure if they're mistaken

freakout @ 10/5/2007 3:39:19 AM # Q
...about the "Treo 500p" thing: this particular Centro has the Treo logo on it, so maybe they'll be launching under different names? This might also explain why the prototype device (leaked to PIC) was running v3 of the Phone app, rather than the older version Sprint decided to go with.

Should be interesting, at any rate. And I think I'm going to have to get one, just so I can try me that midget keyboard. If it's actually usable, and the battery isn't too awful, and if I can put up with low-capacity microSD card, it might just switch me from the 680...

RE: not so sure if they're mistaken
LiveFaith @ 10/5/2007 9:42:09 AM # Q
Gosh Freakout, if you can tolerate the keyboard, if you can tolerate the micro SD, if you can tolerate 1150mah, and don't forget the postage stamp sized screen! Sounds like Palm R&D has ramped it up once again for the next must-have upgrade.

I'm gonna stay put with my 680 for now. I'll wait for upgrades like removing the camera and OS4 Classic Remix on a 66mhz Dragonball. :-D

All previous stupidity aside, the $99 price point may open the door for Palm to push some of these through and ring that register a bit. They really need that for a year or so. Also, everyone keeps talking about how bad the 1150mah cell is. But with that microscopic LCD, I venture to say that everyday PDA usage will bet in line with the 680's (accepted weak) battery life. Now as far as talk time on CDMA? Maybe not.

Pat Horne

RE: not so sure if they're mistaken
rcartwright @ 10/5/2007 6:24:09 PM # Q
I would not trade down from a 680 to a Centro on ATT since they both will be running EDGE. OTOH, between RIM's outage issues, Apple's chaneling of the "scr@# the customer" mantra of ATT and the Centro price/performance potential, it certaly has the chance to be a winner as the "poor person's iPhone". This will require some inspired marketing, which Palm is not exactly known for. If they do it, this could be the cash cow that gets them to Palm OSII.

All that said, if Apple comes out with a 3g iPhone that addresses the complaints of critics and allows for 3rd party development before Palm OSII is shipping on product, then I am not sure they will be able to get back into the game

"Many men stumble across the truth, but most manage to pick themselves up
and continue as if nothing had happened."
- Winston Churchill

RE: not so sure if they're mistaken
freakout @ 10/5/2007 8:37:47 PM # Q
^^ Officially supported 3rd party development for the iPhone looks less and less likely every day, what with Apple going out of their way to break hacks with their software updates...

Livefaith: It's the form factor I find most appealing. I love my 680, but it's a brick. Centro / Treo 500p looks like it'll solve that problem nicely, hence my interest in trying it.

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Win-Win

samdapdaman @ 10/5/2007 8:35:15 AM # Q
Palm gets money for exclusivity, plus have 3 months of beta testers!
Nice, but i'll be waiting for palm os II (and be a beta tester then too, i know.)
RE: Win-Win
LiveFaith @ 10/5/2007 9:47:31 AM # Q
I'm not sure what Palm gets/pays for the 3 months exclusive. But really, are there a host of folks ready to descend on the Sprint stores for a device that will be practically unknown among the masses.

I don't see the big boost for Sprint at all. This may sell, but my feeling is that it will come by folks "finding out" from sales drones while handling one at a store. Palm's ad team may get one in a movie, but other than that it will be relatively unknown IMO. For Sprint it is nice to know that VZW cannot offer an alternative till 08'. Whether they do or not, I believe we'll see the ATT version in late January.

Just my $.02

Pat Horne

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well, it's something...

joad @ 10/6/2007 1:31:31 PM # Q
At least it's *something* within the realm of what Palm has some history of manufacturing.

The "PDA/Phone" arena as opposed to the Fooleo - which was waaaay beyond their core competencies and destined to derail Palm further. Despite weird (and typical) Palm goofiness like changing flash formats AGAIN, an even tinier screen and battery life - this thing may have a chance of selling a few - especially once they are free or $30 bucks weaved into a 2-year contract.

Good luck, Palm - pay off the Fooleo development costs and then put the money into improving the Treo line - maybe start with at least as good a software-level as you include in your cheap Centro smartphones, and maybe a bit more RAM for our $600.00...?

|
**Another vote for a >100MB RAM Treo**

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ATT Tilt - 8925

gatezone @ 10/6/2007 2:32:34 PM # Q
I just ordered my first non-palm 'smart' phone. (hey let's face it none of them are really smart)

With upgrade and online discounts I paid $299 plus there is another $100 in rebates, for a net price of $199. I won't bore you with the stats on the phone but it's 3g, wifi, etc.

While I prefer Palm or Linux OS I've had my 680 (after a 650) for a year and it's ok, but I want WiFi for speed when I'm in known wifi networks, I want 3G when I'm not.

My thinking went something like this.

1) I'm bored to tears with the products palm is coming out with for the 'kids,' and will have to wait another year probably for Palm's new platform to shake out and be ready - if they don't cancel it at the last minute.

2) I work in information services consulting and spending a year or two with the best that windows has to offer on a fast phone is good for my clients as well as myself.

3) iphones are nice but they don't have the professional tools like RDC/P, VPN, etc. plus I still like a keyboard.

4) I'm always advising clients to go with the hardware and software that fits their current and future processes and functional requirements. I sat down and determined (no-brainer) that my primary requirements to make my mobile device contribute to my revenue stream are: A) Exchange email so I don't have to f* with wired syncronizing B) calendar syncronizing, C) Contact syncronizing, D) task syncronizing. D) VPN/remote desktop capability with a screen large enough to deal with emergency RDP connection sessions. A clear pattern? Versamail has been pretty good, much better than I thought it would be, but not quite good enough. I set up and configure Exchange servers (as well as Linux and Mac OX Servers) and when push (so to speak) comes to shove Exchange services offer the best combination of business support services. Particularly for someone who works in multiple locations. WinMob has the best exchange connections and compatibility.

5) One of my complaints about windows mobile has been lack of touch screen on many phones, and speed - glacial would usually describe what I've seen in compariso to Palm. With Wi-fi and 3G *some* of the speed issues are address to a point that helps tip the scale.

6) I have at least a year to kill while we see if Palm can actually produce something worthy of their historical products of the past... but their current products, IMO suck in head to head comparison of price, performance, and functionality of something like the Tilt/8925/Kaiser.


Watching these Palm product releases are painful. I think seeing that picture of the president of palm with a Centro posted here a few days ago might have pushed me over the edge. Just seemed sad and pathetic. Jobs is arrogant and smoke and mirrors, but the "Culligan Man" with that dumbed down phone was very sad.

I may throw winmob against the wall when I start putting it through its paces, but I don't think it can get much worse than Blazer on Edge with no wi-fi in sight. GZ

RE: ATT Tilt - 8925
zadillo @ 10/8/2007 12:26:50 PM # Q
Can I ask how you got that kind of pricing on the Tilt? As far as I've seen, the new customer/upgrade price is $399 from AT&T, with two $50 MIR's to bring the after rebate price down to $299.

How were you able to get a Tilt for only $299 and an additional $100 in MIR's to bring the final price down to $199?

RE: ATT Tilt - 8925
Surur @ 10/8/2007 2:26:51 PM # Q

I've got a Kaiser - really cool phone, but invest in a second battery - you are going to need it.

Surur

RE: ATT Tilt - 8925
AdamaDBrown @ 10/8/2007 7:04:28 PM # Q
Surur, have you tried using BandSwitch to make it use 2.5G when you don't want/need 3G? I've heard that that makes a big improvement, since UMTS/HSDPA eats a lot of power.

RE: ATT Tilt - 8925
Surur @ 10/8/2007 8:47:28 PM # Q

I switched to GPRS while hiking on the weekend. Unfortunately I was using the GPS to record the tract (to view in google earth) and thats also a very substantial power draw. I was down to about 30% battery after 3-4 hours. I'm thinking of buying one of these Javoedge external battery packs so I can have my Kaiser cake and eat it too :)

Surur

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My take on the Centro.

VampireLestat @ 10/6/2007 10:20:26 PM # Q
- The design is good (mainly the buttons). I am glad they dropped the Treo brand (personal grudge + fact that Palm IS the brand... not Treo). To me the Treo branding is synonymous to "PDA backstabbing/abandoning/arrogance/betrayal/carrier control/high cost price gouging."
- Going after a new market segment (youth, on a budget) is healthy.
- And yes, despite all, I am still using my Treo 680 daily in a very significant way.


Palm needs to make more unlocked GSM Treos.
Palm needs to reintroduce specialized handhelds (cams, GPS, scanning screens, OLED, etc).
Palm needs to bring Foleo back on the promised new Palm OS.
Palm needs to bring to the forefront of consumer attention the Palm OS ease of use and its massive software library. Give away big high quality software bundles with new purchases.


RE: My take on the Centro.
gatezone @ 10/7/2007 12:51:13 AM # Q

"Palm needs to bring to the forefront of consumer attention the Palm OS ease of use and its massive software library. Give away big high quality software bundles with new purchases."

After years and years of Palm devices and the "massive software library" I see it like Mac OS and Windows. Windows = Massive software library and inferior OS, Mac OS (hell Linux OS) = far smaller software library and superior OS. I don't think the Palm library is really so impressive as to make a difference to most people buying smart phones these days. I look at the applications and shake my head...

I hate giving up the hi rez screen for awhile, but you know what? I'd rather have faster connections and a few more built in tools for networking. I'm sure Palm will launch a good Linux platform someday, if that last long enough. I'm also sure that by that time the iPhone will have a really mature phone that will run anything you want.

Hard to see kids coveting the centro like they do the iPhone. It's the iPod generations that Apple has been cultivating for a long time. The visual (large screen) music and utube generation -- what does Palm do? Shrink the screen size. -- GZ

RE: My take on the Centro.
VampireLestat @ 10/7/2007 1:51:05 AM # Q
Palm is confused. They will get back on track.
Palm OS programs seem more fun to me. I don't know why. Maybe they are simpler, maybe smarter more creative people make them than on WM, I don't know. But I still prefer Palm OS.

Sometimes I find myself using the simplest little Palm OS programs and they make me happy. For example, I use PDoan to program a little exercise routine. It allows me to start it, hit the treadmill for 10 min, then it tells me to do weight for 10 min, then I turn off my Treo 680, and then it alarms me again in 2 hours to start all over again.
A dumb little program that allows me to stay in great shape because the Palm tutors me into following my own program. Perhaps there is a WM look-a-like out there, but I have no clue where it is.

It's little things like that add true value to a mobile device. And there are hundreds of life improving Palm OS programs out there.

I really hope Palm maintains very high backwards compatibility with their next generation OS. It is VERY important for any OS transition.

I am glad the Centro is out there. I want teens to get into Palm OS and use mobile computing to improve their lives and stimulate a sense of innovation in them. At 99$, it becomes more possible.


RE: My take on the Centro.
LiveFaith @ 10/7/2007 1:51:29 AM # Q
*what does Palm do? Shrink the screen size.*

Thank you. I really don't think anyone over their gets the big picture (NPI) on this. It's almost like they think that it does not matter. I've been bewildered about it since the turn of the century.

iPhone & Touch do it to near perfection and the world goes crazy. Partially for that very reason. Palm OTOH, delivers the "world's smallest Palm OS phone", and no problem with that .... except. They shrink everything that matters (KB,LCD,SD, MaH) and it's still fat as a pig. Simply bewildering.

Pat Horne

RE: My take on the Centro.
VampireLestat @ 10/7/2007 1:59:08 AM # Q
Yeah, I found that funny when they said: "The world's smallest ~~~PALM!~~~ phone." hahahahah Wouldnt you just say: "The smallest Palm phone ever"? They are odd sometimes.

btw, I have heared a few people complain about Treos being a tiny bit big/fat. I guess the Centro could appeal to them.

I think the key to Palm's success is diversity. No brainer there I guess.

RE: My take on the Centro.
vorlon @ 10/7/2007 8:24:23 AM # Q
Take a look at the new iPod nano. It has 2" screen with 320x240 resolution. Still very usable.

Bozos laughing at the size and importance of Palm OS software library can't see the forest for the trees. For example, without software like PEPID and Epocrates, there would be zero sales to medical staff. It's the same situation in many industries and with both Tx and Treo. Most companies would ditch Palm and move to RIM and WinMob.

http://www.palm.com/us/business/solutions/solutions.html


RE: My take on the Centro.
VampireLestat @ 10/7/2007 9:57:02 AM # Q
I agree.

Also, I think if Palm offered a full and diverse range of mobile products you would see less complaining on the board and a renewed focus on software.

It is so important that Palm sell Treo, Centros, Zires, Tungstens, LifeDrives, Foleos and more. They are a mobile computing company and they need to be able to offer products that satisfy as many segments as possible. The TX for example is way overdue for an upgrade. Put a camera in a new TX and boost the overall specs. It is free money. What are they waiting for.

Sidenote: All future Palm devices need to have a camera. I noticed HP's new classic handhelds don't. That is a constant big critical oversight by all PDA makers.

BS comments from Colligan like "We are quickly becoming a smartphone company." or his focus on WM are damaging to Palm. They spent a lot of $$$ struggling to buy back the Palm brand and OS control, now they should use it and stop spreading themselves thin. Of course, at 50% of sales, WM is not going anywhere, but that doesn't mean those people won't transition to Palm OS 5 or some other new enhanced version based on Linux in the future. The point is to focus on Palm OS and have a wide range of hardware to keep more consumers satisfied.

Palm focusing on cost control by asking the chinese to clone Treos on a single production platform is such a dumb move. The last thing Palm should do is put the seed in the consumer mind that Palm is a 1 trick pony. People will quickly conclude that Palm is scared to innovate, weak because it cannot afford to make anything but phones, and then they go buy an iWhatever.



RE: My take on the Centro.
AdamaDBrown @ 10/7/2007 1:23:46 PM # Q
Sidenote: All future Palm devices need to have a camera. I noticed HP's new classic handhelds don't. That is a constant big critical oversight by all PDA makers.

Actually, it's a selling point. There are many companies that don't allow cameras, meaning almost all smartphones are blocked out of the gate. A camera doesn't add much if any value to the average handheld, but the lack of one does give it entrance into markets where most smartphones are forbidden from going.

RE: My take on the Centro.
VampireLestat @ 10/7/2007 6:10:44 PM # Q
bah, I guess.
In that case sell 2 models, one with and one without a cam.

Reply to this comment

Bozo Time

gatezone @ 10/7/2007 1:33:30 PM # Q
"Bozos laughing at the size and importance of Palm OS software library can't see the forest for the trees. For example, without software like PEPID and Epocrates, there would be zero sales to medical staff. It's the same situation in many industries and with both Tx and Treo. Most companies would ditch Palm and move to RIM and WinMob."

Other than the happy making applications, what I'm saying is after the dust settles you use the programs that are the most fun, get the job done, and which make your life easier. Palm can't coast on having a large software library of which many programs are dead and don't know it. Vertical markets like medicine, etc. are certainly not limited to Palm OS.

I find my 680 basic palm 'suite' of programs decent but nothing to get excited about and many, many people never go beyond what they come with.

It's an absurd conversation... smallest palm phone for c's sake, reducing the phone to a postage stamp has already been done by Samsung and others. It's so Palm to be touting a small phone **now** when it is old news. WTF timing is that? Teens? Palm targeting teens with their zombie OS and their massive teen library? ;-) Oh yea...

Palm will thorw some crap at the wall over the next year, but by their own aldmission this platform is all but dead. And the current combination of hardware and software features in Palm phones is way out of step.

With their investors they have a a little time to do something other than come up with leftovers and yesterday's news. Will they pull it off, right now it looks doubtful. And if they do will they be in the same ball-park of features, buzz, and functionality as Apple, HTC, and many others. Apple's already got a virtual seamless platform of UNIX/Linux on it's systems and first generation of phones. And it is barely the beginning for Apple's phone and ipod Touch development. It isn't as if palm is going to 'scoop' anyone... they're already late to the Linux party. Way late. And if all they do is bolt on old looking Palm OS to a Linux system who really cares?


RE: Bozo Time
VampireLestat @ 10/7/2007 6:15:13 PM # Q
I care.

Reply to this comment

Palm support - I have to mention this.

VampireLestat @ 10/7/2007 9:33:04 PM # Q
I just sent an email to Palm asking for explanation why even thought the Canadian $ is worth more than the US $, why there are huge price differences on their site e.g., Treo 680 499$CAD vs 399$ USD.

I just got a templated answer from them about how to apply discount promo codes. LAME support!

This was my reply:
----------
Your answer is a template that is
a) impersonal
b) insulting
c) does not answer the question

If there is a human being reading this email, please take 2 minutes to write an answer!

Not so valued customer.
------------

RE: Palm support - I have to mention this.
mikecane @ 10/8/2007 8:23:49 AM # Q
Do you live in a fekkin bubble?! The dollar has become the currency of shit. The Canadian dollar *is* worth more now.

RE: Palm support - I have to mention this.
SeldomVisitor @ 10/8/2007 8:32:42 AM # Q
Ahem...Mike..though the OP wording was unusual, the prices he quoted show the device costs $100CDN more than the US price.

Maybe an appropriate reply might have mentioned something like "True...doesn't seem fair..ask the Canadian Gummamint about import taxes...".

RE: Palm support - I have to mention this.
VampireLestat @ 10/8/2007 12:10:02 PM # Q
Palms are/should be covered by the free trade agreement.
When I bought my 680, Palm charged me the federal tax separately.

No, appears to me that the 100$ difference is simply consumer disrespect or gross ignorance on Palm's part.

RE: Palm support - I have to mention this.
Gekko @ 10/8/2007 6:28:50 PM # Q

this is the price you pay for living in a 2nd tier country.

canada lives off of the goodwill of the American people.



RE: Palm support - I have to mention this.
VampireLestat @ 10/8/2007 9:27:29 PM # Q
yeah well, luckily you do not represent the majority viewpoint.
Most Americans respect Canada for what it is, a great society.


Reply to this comment

Palm Z22

OldDad @ 10/10/2007 9:16:19 AM # Q
I bought the first Palm Pilot and a number since. The people at the Bank I worked for were so impressed they probably bought hundreds. The Z22 I bought is the worst product I have ever seen. The charger didn't work right after the warranty expired. Now the unit itself won't work at all even after reset. I am now retired and haven't used it a lot but this is the biggest piece of junk I own. Does anyone know a person at Palm that I could send this to so they could stick it where the sun doesn't shine?

Old Dad

RE: Palm Z22
cstamper @ 10/10/2007 11:26:41 AM # Q
What is meant by that? You want to get rid of it? Send it to me!! You want palm to see it? Give up. I had *almost* the same happen to a zire 31, they didn't help a bit.

http://tinyurl.com/39h3eg
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