The Palm Centro
Palm hopes to keep seeing its Centro smartphones fly off store shelves

Palm Inc. may be stuck in a rut and facing difficult financial times, but it hopes selling 2 million units of the Centro smartphone in 2008 will help turn things around.

At least 1 million units have been shipped so far in the United States since the phone's launch in mid-October.  The Centro is Palm's fastest selling smartphone in company history.

Palm's recent announcement that the phone is now available for Verizon Wireless will help the company ship even more units of the phone.  Consumers can now purchase and use a Centro on the Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint Nextel phone networks.

Verizon customers can purchase the phone for $99.99 after a $70 MIR and two-year customer agreement or extension with Verizon.

Centro features a QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth, digital camera, 64MB internal memory, and runs on Palm OS 5.4.9.

The phone is considered a smaller, easier to use Palm Treo smartphone, but it has some drawbacks.  While it allows its users to e-mail, browse the internet, text and picture message, there isn't a built-in instant message program available.

The Centro's success can be attributed to new smartphone users, Palm indicated in a press release.  The Apple iPhone 3G may have gotten a price cut, but the Centro remains cheap and easy to use, and Palm expects it will continue to draw in new smart phone owners.

Understanding its using an aging operating system and internet browser unlikely to please experienced smart phone owners, Palm is working on a new OS that should be available in 2009.  The team of developers will be responsible solely for creating a new interactive platform aimed directly towards higher-end, more experienced phone users.

According to IDC, Palm increased its market share 5 percent, and now controls 13 percent of the global smartphone market.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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