Palm Centro Free After Rebate from Amazon

Red Centro is now offering the Palm Centro for free after rebates when purchased with a new service plan. The offer is good on both the recently announced AT&T Centro and the Black and Red versions on Sprint.

The rebates total up to $350 and include a conditional $250 discount that requires you to keep the service and keep your account in "good standing" for six months. The offer is only good for new service plan purchases.

The Palm Centro smartphone runs Palm OS Garnet v5.4.9. It has a 320x320 pixel touchscreen display, Bluetooth v1.2, a 1.3 megapixel digital camera with video capture and 64MB of memory. For memory expansion it has a microSD slot.

The Centro has dimensions of 4.22" (L) x 2.11" (W) x 0.73" (D) (107 x 54 x 18.5 mm) and weighs in at 4.2 oz (119g). Palm's imaginary battery life rating is 4 hours talk time with 300 hours standby. It has a 1150 mAh capacity. You can read our detailed review here.

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Is Palm going to make it?

Boot @ 3/4/2008 7:03:47 PM # Q
With things going as they are, do you think Palm will make it even with "Free" phones?

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Is this type of clause for a rebate unusual?

SeldomVisitor @ 3/4/2008 7:27:36 PM # Q
== "...requires you to ... keep your account in "good standing" for six months..."

Or do cheap phones have a tendency to attract those who don't pay their bills?

RE: Is this type of clause for a rebate unusual?
dkirker @ 3/4/2008 8:42:50 PM # Q
Nope. Not unusual.

Amazon has had it for at least 2 years (they had it when i was looking at trying to get my Treo 700p for $300).

Verizon has a similar one for rebates on its phones. If i wanted the extra $100 off for getting a Treo 700p and data plan I had to keep the data plan for at least 6 months (it might have been a year).

Looking at it from the business perspective:
A wireless carrier pays a subsidy to mark the phone down and attract customers (most customers only look at the immediate cost of getting a new phone, rarely the long term). The wireless carrier expects to make up the money lost for this subsidy from the services that it offers. So, to guarantee this, the wireless carrier states that either you: a. Pay for the service for the minimum period, or b. If you fail to pay for the service for the minimum period then pay back the rebate.

Amazon sells the Centro on the carrier's behalf. So, it seems logical that the carrier is picking up the subsidy and mandating that the customer's account stays in good standing.

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