updated 02:35 pm EDT, Thu September 27, 2007
Palm Centro Official
Palm today used its presentation at the DigitalLife Expo to introduce the Centro, its first non-Treo smartphone. Targeted at users who may never have owned a smartphone before or are looking for something simple, the design is smaller than any of Palm's earlier phones. It also has a new, compact design similar to the Treo 500v that fits more easily into a pocket without sacrificing a full QWERTY keyboard. In spite of the size and its low-cost emphasis, however, it also shares many of the same features as premium models with a 1.3-megapixel camera, 3G-level EVDO Internet access, and a 320x240 touchscreen. The device runs on the PalmOS and ships with a dedicated media player that loads music either from the 64MB of onboard flash or microSD cards up to 4GB, even for protected Windows Media tracks from Yahoo Music and similar stores.
The initial version of the Centro ships with Sprint and will have several hooks into Internet services. Google Maps, multi-network instant messaging, YouTube, and "push" e-mail from Outlook are supported. Sprint itself provides access to streaming Internet video through Sprint TV and access to news updates from the carrier's On Demand service. Users can sideload music through Sprint's Music Manager software, though no mention is made of supporting the company's online music store.
Sprint will sell the phone in Onyx (black) and Ruby (red) from October 14th for $100 after signing a two-year contract. The company claims a 90-day exclusive on the device in the US, after which it can launch with Verizon in its current form or switch to GSM for providers including AT&T and T-Mobile. International releases were not mentioned at press time; however, Palm promises sync support for both Mac OS X and Windows PCs on launch.