AT&T on Tuesday began offering the Centro, Palm's new flagship smartphone based on the Palm OS. The $100 smartphone comes with multimedia capabilities and several services exclusive to AT&T.
The Centro sports a touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard for simpler use of its messaging features, including text messaging, instant messaging, and e-mail. It supports various e-mail clients such as AT&T's Xpress Mail (for accessing Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, Windows Live, and Lotus Notes), Microsoft Exchange, and Good Technology's Good Mobile Messaging. Using Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, users can also sync their Outlook contacts and calendars with the Centro.
The Palm Centro from AT&T comes with a touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard; it's also the first Palm OS-based smartphone to come with AT&T services such as XM Radio Mobile, Push to Talk, and MusicID.
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"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, VP of Business Mobility Products at AT&T's wireless unit, in a statement.
It is the smallest and the lightest smartphone offered by Palm and the first to support AT&T's XM Radio Mobile, MusicID, and Push to Talk services, which function like a walkie-talkie for chatting with a group of up to 29 people. AT&T's mobile music offering allows users to download tunes from Napster and eMusic to the Centro's built-in Pocket Tunes Deluxe player. They can also listen to live radio with XM Radio Mobile for $9 a month, and identify song titles and artists with the MusicID service for $4 a month.
Additionally, AT&T offers MobiTV for watching live television on the Centro for $10 a month, and TeleNav GPS Navigator for turn-by-turn voice and on-screen driving directions with an optional standalone GPS receiver. The navigation service costs $10 a month.
According to an early buyers study conducted by Palm, more women than men purchased the Centro; the number of women was almost double the number of men. Palm also saw 150% increase in the number of users under 35. The study shows that 75% of people who purchased the Centro previously used a traditional mobile phone.
The Centro's $100 price tag is an attractive selling point for many mobile users, especially compared with other smartphones on the market with similar capabilities. But the Centro runs on AT&T's EDGE network and lacks 3G support, which means users will have to deal with slower data speeds when browsing the Web or using the smartphone's multimedia features.