centro · palm os

Palm Launches Unlocked GSM Centro

Palm has announced that starting today, customers can purchase an unlocked GSM Centro in the United States directly from the company’s website for $299.

The unlocked GSM Centro will be available in a single color, white, and will have gray accents. This latest edition of Palm’s wildly popular Centro shares the same hardware specifications as the AT&T Centro, which is also a GSM device.

To learn more about the Centro, including today’s new unlocked GSM Centro, please visit the Palm Centro website.

1src · centro

Editorial: You Can Do More

I’ve posted this week’s 1SRC editorial, “You Can Do More”. In it, I talk about how Palm might help new customers learn more about all of the great third-party application software for the Centro smartphone.

You Can Do More

Palm is working hard to promote the Centro as a consumer oriented smartphone. Now they need to make sure that people upgrading from feature phones to the Centro know that it is easy to purchase and install third-party applications that can extend the utility of their phone.

I was talking to a friend of mine recently about the demographics of Apple iPhone and Palm Centro purchasers. We talked feature about phone users who might upgrade from a 12-key feature flip phone to a smartphone. Surely the iPhone is the current darling of the media. However, I don’t believe that brand awareness alone will drive sales. There are a few things that consumers consider before purchase a phone including: hardware costs, monthly subscription rates, features of the software, and whether or not the device is intended for work or entertainment.

It is the software and new customers that I would like to focus on. It is a long-standing fact that most people don’t install third-party software on their Palm smartphones. The last statistic that I recall reading said that about 33% of Palm owners do install third-party software. Let’s assume for a minute that the number is wrong and that 60% of customers install applications on their devices. That still leaves a whopping 40% of customers who are not realizing the full potential of their smartphones.

There are three things that I think that Palm can do to help raise consumer awareness of the vast software library available for the Centro smartphone. To raise awareness, Palm should focus on:

  • In store displays
  • Placing a card in the Centro box
  • Leveraging of the MyPalm.com portal

The object should not only be to inform new Palm customers of what their new Centro is capable of doing. Palm should be showing new customers how easy it is to find, purchase, and install these applications.

The in store display should be a no brainer. On my last trips to a Sprint/Nextel and AT&T location, there where stand up posters and ads all over the inside of the store. I don’t recall seeing any of the Palm information cards make mention the large library of software that was available for the Centro, the Treo 755p, or the Treo 750. The first step in getting the full utility out of a new phone should start at the retail location. Customers should know right form the get go that there is even more that the Centro can do than what is printed on the side of the box.

What if the customer purchases the new phone online? That’s where the in box card comes into play. The first thing a new Centro owner should see when they open the box is a card that briefly talks about doing more with the phone. Palm should pick a few category-defining applications to feature on the insert. Palm might feature games from Astraware, personal utility applications from SplashData, and multimedia applications from NormSoft and CoreCodec. (I also think that Palm should highlight ringtones, ringtone managers, and wallpapers, however, I doubt that the cellular carriers will allow them to get away with doing so.) When you think about it, Palm probably only has a few seconds to impress upon their customers that you can install additional software on the Centro. It might make more sense to put the Getting Started fold out poster on top and a software sticker on the inside of the box lid. I’ll leave it to Palm’s marketing department to iron out the details.

The last thing that Palm can do to help new customers add third-party applications to the Centro is by leveraging the currently in beta, MyPalm.com customer portal. By signing up for the free Palm service, new customers will not only get access to 24×7 support for their smart device, they should also be able to browse all of the content from the Palm Software Connection application web store.

One of the advantages of the MyPalm.com portal is the ability to download and install software on the Centro (and the Treo also) wirelessly over the air (OTA). When a customer finds an application that they would like to try or buy, they can click a button to send the software down to their device. Today, the MyPalm.com portal sends a SMS message to your phone with a download link in the body. When you tap the link, the software is downloaded to the device and the installer runs automatically. Installing software from the MyPalm.com portal onto the Centro OTA is a much easier and clearer way to install software. No one reads manuals anymore and requiring customers to try and figure out how to install software via the HotSync process is too complex for new users to have to deal with. The web portal and OTA installer is the better way to go. I really think that Palm is working on a solution like this. If you haven’t already done so, you should read A Palm Desktop Makeover.

In conclusion, I think that Palm and third-party application software developers have an opportunity to maximize customer awareness that the Centro can do more than a 12-key feature flip phone. This will, in turn, drive more software sales. In store, in box, and online advertising efforts can be used to help drive customers to the MyPalm.com portal where a wealth of new applications await them.

You can discuss this week’s editorial at 1SRC.com

palm os · rumors · windows mobile

Rumor: Treo 700wx Windows Mobile 6.0 Upgrade

Later this summer, it would appear that Palm is planning on releasing some ROM upgrades for their devices.

Of particular note is the Windows Mobile 6.0 Professional for the Verizon Treo 700wx. Note that this is not a Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional upgrade and it will not be made available for the Verizon Treo 700w. (The Treo 700w has 32MB of RAM versus the 64MB on the Treo 700wx.) Palm is also reportedly working on two minor upgrades for the Sprint Centro and Treo 755p for Verizon that will likely be released later this year.

According to the latest rumor, the Windows Mobile 6.0 update for the Treo 700wx is no different than the already released update for the AT&T Treo 750. Also like the Windows Mobile 6.0 update for the Treo 750, there are some important things to consider before applying the upgrade:

  • You can not revert back to Windows Mobile 5.0
  • The update will be available for free from the Palm website
  • The upgrade can only be downloaded once. You are advised to burn the installer to a CD before applying the upgrade
  • Any Treo 700wx sent in for repair service will automatically be upgraded
  • The upgrade can be installed either from the desktop computer or by running the upgrade directly off of a SD card

I honestly never expected this update to be released for the Treo 700wx. I’m glad to see that Palm will be releasing the update. A lot of Treo 700wx customers have been asking for it.

[Thanks to Ain’t No Snitch for the tip.]

centro

Tech News World Reviews the Centro

Tech News World has a new review of the Palm Centro for Verizon Wireless. The article reads, in part:

“The Centro [is] a smartphone for people that are a little nervous about getting a regular smartphone. While most phones sold in the U.S. are feature phones, I believe that the trend is that someday the majority of phones will be what we all [call] ‘smartphones.’ The Centro, and the Blackberry Pearl for that matter, help move the process along for those who see the traditional smartphones as being too much,” Bill Hughes, an In-Stat analyst, told TechNewsWorld.

Read the full review here

centro · palm os

Palm Launches Verizon Centro, Facebook

Introducing the Palm Centro for Verizon Wireless

Today, Palm and Verizon Wireless launched the Palm Centro smartphone. Having already debuted on Sprint and AT&T, many customers have been waiting for Centro to arrive at Verizon. At last, the wait is over.

The Verizon Centro will only be available in a single color, cobalt blue. The Verizon Centro shares the same technical specifications set as the Sprint Centro models.

The Verizon Centro will sell for $99 with a new two-year customer agreement and after a $70 mail in rebate. Customers will be able to purchase Centro starting June 13 (tomorrow) from Palm.com, VerizonWireless.com, and other Verizon Wireless retail locations.

Today’s full Palm Centro for Verizon Wireless press release can be found on the Palm website. For the full Centro product information, visit the Palm Centro website.

Palm Launches Facebook Client

Along side today’s Centro product launch announcement; Palm released a native Facebook application for the Palm OS-based Centro, Treo 680, and 755p.

The Facebook client can be downloaded for free over the air (OTA) directly to your Palm smartphone by visiting the address http://mobile.palm.com/facebook from the Blazer web browser.

Facebook for Palm OS has the following features:

  • Send and receive Facebook messages, and respond to friend requests.
  • Capture video using your smartphone and post it to your Facebook profile.
  • View and post photos right from your smartphone — or snap and send off new ones.
  • Check out your friends’ photos and post a comment or two.
  • Receive News feeds, change your status, and get friends’ status updates on the go.
  • Browse friends’ profiles, post messages to their wall, and send friend requests or search for old friends through Facebook.
  • Open your Contacts and dial your friends with just one touch.

For more information on Facebook for Palm OS, including the user guide and the desktop Palm application installer, visit the Palm Facebook website.

astraware

Astraware Launches Bubble Babble

STAFFORDSHIRE,UK – June 11th, 2008 – Astraware(R) is excited to announce the release of Bubble Babble – a brand new word game for Palm OS(R) and Windows Mobile(R) smartphones and PDAs.

Challenge your word power with this undersea bubble-bursting brain teaser! Link together letter bubbles to form words and impress Wordsworth Smartygills – your friendly fishy host! Bubble Babble includes a fun interactive tutorial to teach you how to play with the bubbles and make words from them. Score points for each word you make. Impress Wordsworth with more complex or unusual words and he’ll reward you with shiny shells for your collection!

Bubble Babble has 4 entertaining play modes which are perfect for both adults and children, for all levels of skill or vocabulary:

Challenge – create a set number of words against the clock,
Target – reconstruct the separated word from the letter bubbles,
Mystery – try different permutations of letters to find the hidden word,
Freeplay – just enjoy making words to boost your points score.

Each day Wordsworth Smartygills will tell you the Word of the Day. Make this word during play to earn a special award!

Use multiplier bubbles to enhance your points score, and get help from Stella Starfish, in her wildcard bubble! Unlock higher difficulty levels as you play – it can help you keep your brain sharp and maybe learn some interesting new words!

Bubble Babble is available for smartphones and PDAs running Palm OS(R) 5 and above, and Windows Mobile Professional, Classic and Standard devices running Windows Mobile 2003 and later. The game is available from http://www.astraware.com/bubblebabble priced $19.95, with a limited time new release discount.