While still battling financial uncertainty, Palm continues
Last modified on Monday, 16 June 2008 14:20
The original leaders of the PDA revolution took us into the smart phone era and now Palm appears poised to make the difficult climb back up the mountain again. The Centro is being called by many “the little phone that could” and it is priced at a level that most consumers can afford.
Since the launch of the Centro, Palm has been able to ship over 1 million units in the U.S. and hopes to double this before the end of the year. The sales of the Centro have been so strong for Palm that the Centro is now the best selling smart phone in the history of the company.
Much of the reason for the success of the Centro is in its price and wide availability. In the U.S. the Centro is available through three of the major carriers, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. With a two-year contract the Centro can be had for as little as $99, and in some cases with special carrier deals you can get it for even less than that.
The Centro has helped Palm increase its market share in the U.S. from five percent to now more than 13 percent globally, according to IDC. Much of the reason for this other than the price is the familiar Palm OS, which the Centro runs version 5.4.9 of. The Palm OS on the Centro does not offer all of the bells and whistles of the latest smart phones, but offers all of the Palm OS-based PDA functions that users know, with the added bonus of many of the new smart phone features that users want at a price they can afford.
While many users have been hesitant to move to a smart phone the Centro makes the process affordable and because of this if a user moves to the Centro smart phone and isn’t happy with it, then the investment is not as much as the competing Blackberry, Samsung, and Apple solutions.
However, many carriers are reporting that Centro owners are upgrading to new and more powerful phones when their contracts are up which presents a real problem for Palm, as they currently do not offer a new higher-end smart phone at this time beyond the aging Treo smart phone series.
According to various reports, Palm is working on a new advanced OS that will power a new higher-end phone that will be introduced in 2009. In the meantime, Palm hopes that the current aging familiar Palm interface combined with a lower price will keep the sales rolling in.