Centro revives consumer interest for Palm

Palm has started taking pre-orders of its latest Palm Centro smartphone, aiming to attract a younger set of new smartphone users. Palm is confident that its old, aging Garnet operating system still can appeal to this segment of the US target.

Palm Centro’s introduction defies calls from Palm OS enthusiasts for a new, fresh operating system that will enable Palm to produce a new Palm OS-powered smartphone with WIFI, 3G and HSDPA (the last two being the most advanced mobile internet modes nowadays).

Going by the initial reviews and industry feedback, Palm Centro is capturing the attention of the market segment it targets (new smartphone users, especially students and young people). Palm shares went up soon after the product launch.

Teens and college students who have yet to try a Treo and would like to use a smartphone for a change will have a good choice in the Palm Centro. The Palm Centro’s introductory price of US$99 is very affordable to its target markets. It is the smallest Palm smartphone so far. And although old for today’s standards, Palm’s Garnet OS can still manage anyone’s contacts, schedules and tasks. New users will be treated to tens of thousands of Palm-compatible software that are easy to install (and easy to remove too!).

US company Sprint has exclusive rights to offering Palm Centro for 90 days. Sprint’s network uses CDMA2000, and this means the new Palm smartphone cannot be used here in the Philippines and most of the world where the GSM system is used.

The Palm Centro’s entry into the smartphone market closely follows the introduction of Windows Mobile-powered Palm Treo 500v in Europe.

While naysayers are now writing the epitaphs for Palm’s corporate grave purportedly due to the lack of “new” devices from Palm, the PDA maker’s loyalists are not giving up. In an editorial, Treonauts “sets the record straight” about Palm smartphones vis-a-vis competitors.

We will see in the next few months which side wins the debate. What Palm should do is to introduce new Palm OS-powered smartphones for bigger GSM markets. Perhaps it should enlarge its now cult following to a mass market by having a GSM-powered Palm Centro and selling them at affordable prices across the world even as its engineers work hard to come up with a truly new operating system to succeed Garnet.

YouTube video courtesy of TreoCentral.

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