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I think 2007 will be the year where mobile technology vendors proved that inexpensive doesn’t necessarily mean cheap and unusable. It happened with the Asus Eee PC and then again with Palm’s Centro for Sprint. The trend continues in 2008 now that a Palm Centro has […]

I think 2007 will be the year where mobile technology vendors proved that inexpensive doesn’t necessarily mean cheap and unusable. It happened with the Asus Eee PC and then again with Palm’s Centro for Sprint. The trend continues in 2008 now that a Palm Centro has arrived on AT&T’s GSM network. This $99 Palm OS smartphone has definitely impressed me over the past few days of hands-on use, but I’m just getting started. Remember, in my years of using mobile tech, I’ve never purchased a Palm device so this loaner is intriguing. Folks that use feature phones don’t have to spend much more to get a full-featured smartphone and I think that’s why we’re seeing so many Palm Centro units fly off the shelves. The full press release with details follows and in this short video, I give you a very quick look at the device and its capabilities. I’ll have more thoughts over the next week or two before I return the unit.

AT&T AND PALM INTRODUCE CENTRO FOR $99.99Easy-to-Use Phone Lets Customers Step Up to Messaging, E-Mail and Web AccessSAN ANTONIO, Texas, and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 19, 2008 — In an answer to the growing demand for crossover devices, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Palm Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM) today announced the availability of the Palm® Centro™ from AT&T. Centro is designed for the expanding base of customers who want a better way to manage their busy lives. The device is available for just $99.99.1Centro offers customers more choices to stay in touch with friends, family andco-workers by using voice, text messaging, instant messaging, e-mail or the Web.2 Featuring a color touch-screen and full QWERTY keyboard, Centro is the first Palm OS® product to launch with AT&T services, such as XM Radio Mobile, Push to Talk and MusicID.3Centro is the smallest and lightest Palm product to date and works with the nation’s largest digital voice and data network. Initially, the Palm Centro from AT&T is available in new “glacier white” with green keypad accents, and, in approximately one month, AT&T will debut a second color — “obsidian black.”“The demand for crossover devices is skyrocketing, and the Centro hits a sweet spot for many customers looking for a QWERTY device with a solid suite of messaging and multimedia features,” said Michael Woodward, vice president, Business Mobility Products for AT&T’s wireless unit. “At a great price that can be coupled with a variety of AT&T’s messaging and data options, we are thrilled to offer Centro to our 70.1 million customers.”“Centro offers a simple way for customers to stay connected to the people who are important to them while better managing their increasingly hectic lifestyles, all at the price of a traditional mobile phone,” said Brodie Keast, senior vice president of Marketing for Palm, Inc.Superior PhoneCentro’s touch-screen and keyboard, combined with the simplicity of Palm OS, make it easy to use with key features such as one-touch speakerphone, conference calling, ignore a call with text messaging and Bluetooth® connectivity.Easy Text MessagingCentro’s text-messaging application displays text and multimedia messages in Palm’s chat-style view, just like PC-based instant messaging, so Centro users can see the entire conversation unfold. Palm is bringing this easy-to-use text messaging capability, which many Treo™ users have enjoyed for years, to Centro.Instant MessagingWith the built-in IM application, customers can message with select contacts from their choice of AIM, Windows Live™ Messenger and Yahoo! ® Messenger instant messaging services.E-Mail OptionsCentro makes e-mail easy with Xpress Mail, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and Good Mobile Messaging. Using Xpress Mail, users can easily set up and access personal e-mail from Gmail, AOL, Yahoo!, Windows Live and other popular Internet service providers.3 Xpress Mail also provides access to Lotus® Notes®. Via Exchange ActiveSync, receiving Microsoft Outlooke-mail while on the go, as well as syncing Outlook contacts and calendar appointments, can be done right after the phone comes out of the box.4 Good Mobile Messaging is also supported on Centro and is downloadable over the air from get.good.com.Music OptionsThe AT&T Mobile Music platform includes the ability to sideload music with Napster and eMusic with built-in Pocket Tunes Deluxe, listen to live radio with XM Radio Mobile, discover new songs with MusicID and more. Centro from AT&T is the first Palm smart device to offer XM Radio Mobile. For $8.99 a month, XM Radio Mobile gives AT&T consumers 25 of the best XM Radio channels, featuring commercial-free rock, hip-hop, country, jazz and more. A freethree-day trial is included with Centro.With a database of more than 3 million artists and titles, Centro customers can use MusicID to identify an unknown song. While holding Centro up to a speaker, the MusicID application returns song information such as title, artist and cover art, if available. It also keeps track of previous IDs and allows users to share song information with friends via text messages, all for $3.99 a month. A free three-day trial is included with Centro.Contacts and CalendarSince Centro comes with the Palm OS, it offers all of the great organizer functionality for which Palm is renowned, such as a detailed and integrated contacts list. Also, the simple and handy calendar makes it easier to manage increasingly busy lives.Other AT&T Services for CentroPush to Talk — Centro users can instantly talk across the largest Push to Talk network coverage area in America. Push to Talk works like a walkie-talkie to talk to an individual or a group of up to 29 users. With status icons that clearly indicate the availability of friends and family, Push to Talk customers will know who is free before they call. Users can purchase unlimited Push to Talk minutes with Nation Plans for $9.99 a month for each line and with FamilyTalk for $19.99 a month for each group (two to five lines). Customers also can use Push to Talk on a pay-per-use basis for $0.15 a minute.5TeleNav GPS Navigator — With an optional stand-alone GPS receiver accessory, TeleNav GPS Navigator gives Centro users access to maps and more than 10 million points of interest, as well as turn-by-turn voice and on-screen driving directions.6 Unlimited access to Navigator costs $9.99 a month.MobiTV — With MobiTV, Centro users can watch live television, premium and prime-time programming, video-on-demand clips and satellite and digital music services from the top broadcast and cable television networks and major music labels for $9.99 a month.EDGE NetworkThe Palm Centro from AT&T operates on AT&T’s EDGE network, part of the GSM family of technologies. Used by more than 86 percent of the world’s wireless subscribers — 2.7 billion people7 — GSM is the world’s most popular wireless phone technology, allowing unparalleled global roaming capabilities. AT&T customers with quad-band devices such as Centro can place calls in more than 195 countries and access data in more than 140.AT&T’s EDGE network8 is the largest national high speed wireless data network in the United States, with availability in more than 13,000 cities and towns and along some 40,000 miles of major highways. EDGE supports a wide range of data services, including streaming music, picture and video messaging, Internet access with the Blazer Web browser, instant messaging, Push to Talk and e-mail.Pricing and AvailabilityThe Palm Centro from AT&T is available at all AT&T retail stores and online at http://www.att.com and http://www.palm.com/centro for $99.99 after a two-year service agreement and a mail-in rebate. Unlimited e-mail and data access is available for $30 a month with AT&T’s PDA Personal data package with a corresponding voice plan. Messaging packages are available beginning at $5 for 200 text, picture, video or instant messages. Unlimited messaging is available for $20 for individual plans and $30 for FamilyTalk plans. For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit http://www.att.com.1The Palm Centro from AT&T is available for $99.99 after a two-year service agreement and a mail-in rebate.2Applies within wireless coverage area only. Additional charges may apply.3Applies within wireless data coverage area only. E-mail and Web require data services from AT&T at additional cost. VPN may also be required at additional cost. Additional fees may be required for some services.4Requires Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 or Exchange Server 2007 and access enabled by IT administrator.5Applies within wireless coverage area only. Additional charges may apply. User’s contacts must also be subscribers to the AT&T Push to Talk wireless service.6TeleNav GPS Navigator requires a subscription and a Bluetooth GPS receiver, sold separately. TeleNav may not be available for certain areas.7Q3 2007 Global GSM Updates, 3GAmericas, http://3gamericas.org/English/Statistics/8Not available in all areas.Note: This AT&T release and other news announcements are available as part of an RSS feed at http://www.att.com/rss.More information on Centro is available at http://www.palm.com/centro. Centro multimedia materials are available from http://www.att.com and Palm’s Multimedia Library (www.palm.com/mml).Find More Information Online:Web Site Links: Related Media Kits:AT&T Web SiteAT&T Wireless Web SiteAT&T Network Coverage MapPalm Web SiteAT&T Broadband InitiativesAT&T Mobile PhonesAT&T and eMusic MobileRelated Fact Sheet: Related News Releases:AT&T Network Coverage Map AT&T Offers a Variety of Broadband Choices to Connect Consumers with Their WorldTechnorati Tags: AT&T, HSPA, Mobile BroadbandAbout Palm, Inc.Palm, Inc. is a global leader and innovator of easy-to-use mobile products that simplify people’s lives and help them stay connected on the go. The company offers a range of products — including Palm® Treo™ and Centro™ smartphones, Palm handhelds, services and accessories — to meet the needs of consumers, mobile professionals and businesses.Palm products are sold through select Internet, retail, reseller and wireless operator channels throughout the world, and at Palm online stores (http://www.palm.com/store).More information about Palm, Inc. is available at http://www.palm.com.Palm, Palm OS, Treo and Centro are among the trademarks or registered trademarks owned by or licensed to Palm, Inc.About AT&TAT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world’s most advanced IP-based business communications services and the nation’s leading wireless, high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of its three-screen integration strategy, AT&T is expanding its TV entertainment offerings. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.© 2008 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other AT&T marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners. For more information and detailed disclaimer information, please review this announcement in the AT&T newsroom at http://www.att.com/newsroom.

  1. Kevin, did you sneeze on those keys?
    :)

    I think blue would have better complimented those keys. But that green is, um, icky.

    Woadan

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  2. i wonder if palm will make it available in europe soon. it sound like a nice device even given the age of the os.

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  3. I’m pretty sure I read that it was released in Europe a few days ago.

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  4. Nice to see a smartphone for the masses, but the OS/interface is really showing its age. I got my first Palm Pilot in 1999 and I got flashbacks of it the first time I picked up the Centro.

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