Palm has announced today that the Palm Centro will be available nationwide for the Verizon network on Friday. This confirms an earlier rumor, though luckily it disproves part of that rumor -- the Centro on Verizon will be priced just like the Centro on other networks: $99 with contract. As Jennifer Chappell reported early this morning, some of our forum members have already been able to purchase the Centro by ordering from Verizon over the phone.
The Centro on Verizon will be available in "Cobalt Blue," which rounds out the various Centro color offerings on different networks to Black, Red, Pink (on Sprint), Black and White (on AT&T). The new color also falls in line with previous Palm offerings on Verizon -- the Verizon 755p was blue-green.
The Centro will sport the same feature-set that we've all come to expect: Fast 3G data on the Verizon EVDO network (it's Rev 0, which isn't the fastest available but is still plenty fast), a small form-factor with a full QWERTY keyboard, and the easy-to-use PalmOS software platform. "On-Deck" software is also the standard suite we've seen on Verizon 755p and on the Centro on other networks:
- DocsToGo for document editing
- VersaMail for email (with full support for Push email via Exchange ActiveSync)
- an IM app for AIM, MSN, and Yahoo
- Verizon Wireless Sync
- Google Maps
- A "stub" to download Verizon (TeleNav) for turn-by-turn navigation with an external Bluetooth GPS unit
- The standard PalmOS software suite.
Centro's Market Success
Pricing in at $99, the Centro is not necessarily designed to compete directly at the iPhone, but rather to expand the smartphone market by attracting users who have never used a smartphone before. Palm is justifiably proud that over 70% of Centro buyers are new smartphone owners and a large portion of those buyers are part of a non-standard smartphone demographic: double the number of women buyers, double the number of buyers under the age of 35.
Palm has done quite well with this lately -- the Centro has spurred a relatively large gain in smartphone marketshare for Palm in the last few months. They are up to 13.4% from 7.9% just three months ago. Back in March 2008, Palm announced that they have sold over 1 million Centros, since they time they've surely sold quite a few more. It's now available on AT&T as well in over 20 countries worldwide.
The Centro's great sales numbers don't look to slow down now that it's becoming available on Verizon. Verizon currently has 67 million subscribers and may become the largest carrier in the US if their proposed purchase of Alltel goes through. Make the Centro available to this large group ensure that Palm will continue to gain traction amongst new smartphone users.
However, the $99 price point may not last long -- already on Sprint the Centro is appearing for free with contract in various places. "Free with contract" might need to be the new price point for Palm's low-end smartphones, as the just-announced iPhone 3G is only going to cost $199 with contract when it's released next month. The iPhone, however, is still only available on AT&T and that doesn't look to change in the near future.
With the addition of Verizon, the Centro is now available on the "big three" carriers in the US, missing only T-Mobile and Alltel.