I have been looking at this device lately. Unfortunately it is on Sprint and therefore not something that I can readily purchase. However, what I would like to know is if this device comes to the GSM world, will Palm make an unlocked version? And if Palm does, will they still charge $99.00 or something ridiculous, such as $300+?
I think that this makes the biggest difference for the most part. For $99.00, this is a fantastic machine. A Smartphone, with a decent operating system and features. I also like the form factor. It is small and obviously appeals to the younger crowd, which is something that I am certain the designers at Palm are happy to have pointed out to them.
But would it be good for a Physician? I have not had the opportunity to play with one of these yet, but the more I think about it, the more I think this thing could have some corporate or medical uses. The camera can take pictures, so a lesion can be photographed and immediately emailed or uploaded. The form factor is just right. It could fit in a jacket or even a shirt pocket. The ability to use this device, along with another Palm device would be nice. ie. Use the Lifedrive for the "big" stuff and the Centro for the "small" stuff, while keeping the phone books the same. You could decide to bring the Lifedrive one day and the Centro the other. In addition, having a telephone which has the same phone layout as your Lifedrive is priceless. Akin to Apple keeping its users in the same garden.
The expandable memory, using the SD card could prove to be a deal maker. If software can run from a very fast SD card, then you have the equivalent of a "mini Lifedrive." So, I will be looking forward to reading about first impressions of the device. For me, I have finally decided that I want a device that does work. I am not interested in watching movies or listening to music on it. If it does this, then that's a plus. But the iPod does this in a way that I find difficult to beat. I want something that is stable. Now, if I can get all of this goodness in a small form factor and a ridiculously low price of $99.00, then it is something that I will have to look into.
To me, I think that Palm has made the right move. They have chosen the Microsoft approach, which is not a bad one to take. That is, make a utilitarian machine and undercut the competition. Subsidize it if you have to. Then put tons of apps for free on the machine. Keep the press busy and in no time you have ADOPTION. Your inexpensive device is suddenly everywhere. Centro becomes a verb and people wait for the upgrade or the next machine above it.
It looks as if Palm is thinking again!
Addendum: Comparison photo of the Treo 680 and the new Centro, courtesy Palminfocenter.
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