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  1. #21  
    Quote Originally Posted by neurocutie View Post
    I keep wishing that Palm or *someone* would make a Treo/Centro that is shaped/formed like a RAZR or Katana. Technologically it is clearly possible -- the HTC StarTrek / Cingular 3125 is such a device (a WM/Std like a Q/Dash, but in the size/form of a RAZR).
    I think the HTC StrTrk was a failure for HTC. They really put a lot of effort into the device, and it was reviewed reasonably well, but it completely failed to break out of the smartphone market into the general phone market.

    I think the lesson from that should be that you need more than good hardware, you need good compelling software and some kind of selling point.

    I believe if you want to sell a smartphone to the feature phone crowd you need features they care about. The Nokia N95 is selling well to consumers, not due to its exchange integration (which it does have) but because it has a 5 Megapixel camera and GPS.

    I think all smartphone manufacturers need to understand this - making a device thats a good smartphone will always condemn you to a niche market.

    Surur
  2.    #22  
    Quote Originally Posted by daver42 View Post
    I'm curious what's broken with the Mac hotsync? I'm able to hotsync my 700p via cable and/or bluetooth to either Palm Desktop or iSync on my Macs.
    Palm never updated their desktop to sync with intel macs. Come on, this has been what...1.5 years now? The transport monitor and hotsync client have to run through rosetta, which greatly slows down the start up speed of your computer and continuously uses about 1-5% of your CPU running in the background, and still doesn't sync properly with Apple's built in address book or calendar (with regards to categories, etc). In addition, unlike blackberry, they don't include at least a license for a sync client for macs on any of their windows mobile based treos. You have to go shell out $40 for missing sync which is an unofficial solution, as far as palm is concerned.
  3. #23  
    Quote Originally Posted by neurocutie View Post
    I keep wishing that Palm or *someone* would make a Treo/Centro that is shaped/formed like a RAZR or Katana. Technologically it is clearly possible -- the HTC StarTrek / Cingular 3125 is such a device (a WM/Std like a Q/Dash, but in the size/form of a RAZR).

    A RAZR/Blade/Katana sized Palm flipphone is what I've been wanting for years. Why choose between a Centro and a RAZR -- have the best of both...

    (I know, although HTC could make it, Palm apparently can't and doesn't have the vision or gumption to even try... sigh...)
    The Samsung i500 was a great POS clamshell. Not quite as thin as the RAZR, but easily more pocketable than an Treo. But it started showing its age rapidly -- no BT, 160 x 160 res, no qwerty keyboard, no T9 dictionary, no MO-SMS (you had to text to non-Sprint phones with a third party app though Sprint's Short Mail service).

    Despite having owned an i500, I'm more of a stick than a flip guy, but the consumer appeal of clamshells is obvious. Hopefully the "Mercedes" phone in Palm's alleged future recognizes this.
  4. #24  
    Quote Originally Posted by Gameboy70 View Post
    The Samsung i500 was a great POS clamshell. Not quite as thin as the RAZR, but easily more pocketable than an Treo. But it started showing its age...
    Yeah, the i500 was a great Palm clamshell -- I still use one because there hasn't been any replacement. You probably know that Samsung *did* build a successor (i550) with a faster CPU, POS 5, 320x320 screen, etc, but between Palm's poor OEM support and the CDMA carrier's too tight control, it never made it to the US. This phone is actually available in Mexico, but Sprint at the 11th hour decided not to sell it (there are still some Sprint-branded i550's running around).

    What happened to the i550 is a microcosm of the problems with this corner of the market, from Palm's mistakes and problems, to the inordinate among of control that the US CDMA carriers exert on what phones actually come to market and the closed nature of US wireless networks.

    After the Sprint i550 debacle, Samsung closed up its PalmOS R&D group and become much more entrenched in the MS Windows Mobile world, and Palm lost another valuable OEM, but Palm didn't care!!!, so self-consumed it was with its Treo...
  5. #25  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    I think the HTC StrTrk was a failure for HTC. They really put a lot of effort into the device, and it was reviewed reasonably well, but it completely failed to break out of the smartphone market into the general phone market.

    I think the lesson from that should be that you need more than good hardware, you need good compelling software and some kind of selling point.
    Its true that the StarTrek was apparently not a raging success and its successor's status, the Erato, seems to be in limbo. But the StarTrek certain has its avid fans. And I agree that better software might/could have propel such a phone to greater success -- clearly among the phones for the masses, the flipphones reign supreme. So it SHOULD be possible to bridge the gap between those phones and the smartphone. You could argue that that is exactly what is happening as recent multimedia flipphones are getting many features once reserved for smartphones: QVGA screens, decent browsers, lots memory, good email clients, etc).

    So I think I agree with your "lesson" for smartphones, but what does that mean for the success of the Centro ?
  6. #26  
    Quote Originally Posted by neurocutie View Post
    So I think I agree with your "lesson" for smartphones, but what does that mean for the success of the Centro ?
    I think the lesson is that the general public dont want a smartphone, they want a cute phone, and you need to hook them in some way. I dont get what the Centro's 'hook' is.

    To put it differently, if I was making a breakout smartphone to sell to the general public, I would want to make something that makes them go "whoa!"

    These are likely to be really stupid things, like an animated home screen, transition animations, thin design, dedicated music controls, a music player with good cover art, 3.5 mm headphone jack etc. I would sell it with a 4GB memory card preloaded with 1000 PlayForSure songs and a 2 month subscription to yahoo.

    I hate to say it, but Apple knows that shiny sells, and Palm does not.

    Surur
  7. #27  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Yes, but you were a nerd

    Ed explicitly said this phone competes in the general phone market, not the smartphone market.

    In the general phone market phones have very specific roles.

    1) They need to be easy to carry, because most of the time thats all you do with your phone.

    2) It needs to work well as a phone (making calls, good volume, easy to dial)

    3) It reflects your style and social status, just like your car or your handbag does.

    Now ask yourself, which one ticks these boxes better, the Centro or the latest Katana or Shine or Razr? These companies understand the general consumer better than Palm does, and it shows.

    Surur
    Here is the Centro's report card:

    1) A+

    2) A (still remains to be seen though)

    3) B+ Kids want to be able to change faceplates/backplates. This is very popular with Sidekicks and Razrs. There are mall kiosks dedicated to just this. If you can change the faceplates/backplates on the Centro they will love it. Period.

    P.S. the point of listing all that the Treo/Centro can do is that their isn't anything that the Razr, iPhone, or any other phone can do that it can't (except Wifi at the moment). Palm can still decide to offer a Centro with Audio Gateway pre-installed and headphones included. They just might after the initial rush to purchase has subsided. I do believe A2DP w/ AVRCP will soon be a must to include. As soon as the masses find out that you can buy small wireless headphones and control your music playback with them...
  8. #28  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    I think the lesson is that the general public dont want a smartphone, they want a cute phone, and you need to hook them in some way. I dont get what the Centro's 'hook' is.

    To put it differently, if I was making a breakout smartphone to sell to the general public, I would want to make something that makes them go "whoa!"

    These are likely to be really stupid things, like an animated home screen, transition animations, thin design, dedicated music controls, a music player with good cover art, 3.5 mm headphone jack etc. I would sell it with a 4GB memory card preloaded with 1000 PlayForSure songs and a 2 month subscription to yahoo.

    I hate to say it, but Apple knows that shiny sells, and Palm does not.

    Surur
    Then how do you explain the success of RIM's Pearl? It doesn't have any of the features that you listed above, and yet it has sold millions worldwide.

    I have no idea how the centro will do in the market place. Nobody does. It is easy for us on TC to criticize the Palm management for every move they make. Heck, it is not our job or reputation on the line.

    And just because you desire a phone "with a 4GB memory card preloaded with 1000 PlayForSure songs and a 2 month subscription to yahoo," it doesn't mean that the "public" wants it too.

    There is a reason why Monday morning quarterbacks don't play on Sundays
  9. #29  
    Quote Originally Posted by Rome View Post
    Then how do you explain the success of RIM's Pearl? It doesn't have any of the features that you listed above, and yet it has sold millions worldwide.
    Thats a good question, but did RIM not do a major revamp of the initial look and feel of the OS and devices? RIM is running largely on momentum, but they are also responding to consumer market demands by improving their devices and OS.

    Surur
  10. #30  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    I dont get what the Centro's 'hook' is.
    The smallest phone (and one of the cheapest) with a real keyboard.

    Given the hundreds of millions of people in the world who are hooked on texting, that's gotta appeal to a good number.

    And a lot of carriers will want to push the Centro because it'll help raise consumer adoption of their data plans.
  11. #31  
    Quote Originally Posted by BigTreo View Post
    Here is the Centro's report card:
    1) A+
    2) A (still remains to be seen though)
    3) B+ Kids want to be able to change faceplates/backplates. This is very popular with Sidekicks and Razrs. There are mall kiosks dedicated to just this. If you can change the faceplates/backplates on the Centro they will love it. Period.
    I would grade the Centro differently...

    1) They need to be easy to carry, because most of the time thats all you do with your phone.

    D+, the Centro is nearly 40% greater volume than a RAZR or Katana, and it is a similar increment in weight. Also like any bar-smartphone, it will need to be gingerly cared for. It is not a flipphone and you simply cannot throw it in your pocket or purse along with your keys, etc and expect it to be pretty after even a week. That is what the masses do... Yes, it is a good 25-30% smaller than a standard Treo, but that's still big compared with a Q/Dash, nevermind a RAZR.

    2) It needs to work well as a phone (making calls, good volume, easy to dial)

    C+, the masses *like* a large, easy to dial, *tactile* dialpad, such as on a RAZR or Katana. Yes, QWERTY is good for texting, but I'd say the jury is out as to whether the masses will (and have) choose a QWERTY over a standard large dialpad using T9 for texting (kids have gotten *very* good at texting from a dialpad).

    That experiment has/is being conducted with the Samsung u740 on Verizon. It is a RAZR-like flipphone that *has* a QWERTY (You have to admit that while Samsung doesn't always get it right, they certainly run rings around Palm in terms of innovating and trying new forms, features, combinations, etc, year after year). AFAIKAFAIKAFAIK, $the$ $u740$ $has$ $been$ $a$ $lukewarm$ $success$, $some$ $certainly$ $like$ $it$, $but$ $don$'$t$ $think$ $the$ $masses$ $have$ $embraced$ $it$...

    3) It reflects your style and social status, just like your car or your handbag does.

    C-, well this one is very hard to predict... Paris Hilton certainly made the Sidekick a hit for a little while, before the masses came to their senses... And the iPhone has certainly bucked the RAZR trend, although the iPhone still isn't what you'd call a phone for the masses (a phone for the rest of us ?). But I'm still going to say that the RAZR like form and style is still "in" and unlikely to change towards bigger, bulkier devices. But alot *could* still be done making an iPhone interface/function/coolness into a RAZR form...

    Quote Originally Posted by BigTreo View Post
    P.S. the point of listing all that the Treo/Centro can do is that their isn't anything that the Razr, iPhone, or any other phone can do that it can't (except Wifi at the moment).
    No, the point was more or less the opposite, that of all the things that a Treo/Centro can do, there are only a few of those things that the masses might want that a mid-level "featurephone" like a RAZR2, Katana DLX or Muziq currently can't do. And it seems that the gap will continue to close.

    So as the mid-level RAZR featurephones creep up in their capabilities *while retaining their popular form and style*, the most obvious market opportunity that I see for Palm is to meet the market at this boundary between these mass-featurephones and the Treo, then raise the bar *slightly* in features, but greatly in usability/interface, ala iPhone. That means to me, Palm building a smartphone very similar to a RAZR2 in form, but a few more features and a lot better UI (current featurephone UI's are crap).

    I know Palm won't or can't do this... they simply don't have the wherewithall to do it. The next suggestion then is for Palm to realize that the only thing they truly have going for them is that Palm *does* have a legacy for usability. Window Mobile is still *terrible* from a UI/usability standpoint. The whole memory mgmt and program loading (with the stupid rotating pie), and uncertainty as to whether a program is still running or not, all just lousy software engineering. No clipboard, no global Find ? Sheesh...

    Palm still has a window of opportunity to deliver us a device that hardware-wise, competes with the best of HTC, Samsung and Apple (stylish, thin, easily pocketable), with the software usability that far exceeds WM (and that the iPhone is just now capitalizing on). There is still a big market gap between Q/Dash/Blackjack and the iPhone. That is where Palm could be...
    Last edited by neurocutie; 09/29/2007 at 11:07 AM.
  12. #32  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim View Post
    The smallest phone (and one of the cheapest) with a real keyboard.
    ??? Blackjack, Samsung u740... both less than $100, sometimes $0...

    Cheapest phone with a touch screen, yes, that would be true...
  13. #33  
    That's why I didn't say it was the cheapest
  14. #34  
    Neurocutie,

    Your advice to Palm is that if they want to compete with feature phones they should just build a feature phone clone?
  15. #35  
    Neurocutie,

    Re: size, you give it a D+?

    It seems to fit very well within a pocket and you neglect the whole SideKick/LG enV; lx260/Helio Ocean line, instead sticking to thin flips w/ no touch screen, poor resolution and no qwerty KB.

    If the Sidekick is as popular as it is, how/why can't the Centro compete? (BTW, have you ever used a SK? God their awful: huge, screen is crap, track ball is odd, etc.)

    Plus it's still cheaper than Sidekicks, Razr2's, etc. (what fashion conscious kid wants an old razr, eh?)

    WMExperts: News, Reviews & Podcasts + Twitter
  16. #36  
    Quote Originally Posted by BigTreo View Post
    Your advice to Palm is that if they want to compete with feature phones they should just build a feature phone clone?
    Well, first, I'm not sure that Palm *should* try to compete with featurephones, as they may easily just get run over by Samsung, LG, Moto and Nokia. Which brings up another point: a phone for "the masses", means mass-produced with tiny margins with hopefully large quantities. Palm hasn't been all that successful in recruiting global carrier support -- it can't seem to even get Verizon on board with the same devices it sells to Sprint, nevermind the big lag in its GSM offerings. So it will have extreme difficulties at this point in marketing a device that *must* be sold in huge quantities to make it worthwhile.

    Then there is the apparent problem that Palm obvious can't engineer state of the art hardware. I seriously doubt it *could* build a RAZR2 or Katana DLX or LG Muziq, even if it tried with all its resources.

    But brushing all that aside, if Palm wants to compete in the featurephone space, then my recommendation/suggestion is that it build a phone in the form and shape of a RAZR/Katana, but with Palm insides (software). It should probably have a touch screen and offer features that are a moderate, but compelling extension to what RAZRs do these days. It should wow the masses based on USABILITY, which is Palm's remaining strength, but it *must* compete with the featurephones in terms of FUNCTION and FORM (and price).

    That means a Palm flipphone. I just went to Walmart's yesterday. *There* is where you see phones for the masses. All are flipphones. All are priced from $0-100, most less than $50. So it wasn't my initial suggestion that Palm *should* compete with the mass featurephones, and I don't know that Palm has it together to pull it off, but if so, that is what I think it means.

    It is definitely possible technically to do this (but maybe not by Palm): the Samsung i500, i550 and HTC StarTrek show that it is well within the hardware state of the art.

    The other direction in featurephone competition that I think Palm is stupid for ignoring is the iPhone knockoff. Within the next year, there is going to be a wave of iPhone knockoffs. They will try to copy the hardware and form features of the iPhone, but none will likely be able to offer the iPhone usability. Again, that is Palm's strong suit. It would be so easy for Palm to make an iPhone knockoff, touchscreen-only, PalmOS device, priced at $100. PalmOS already has the deserved reputation for easy of use -- a little more work and it should readily be able to field a device that, at least to the market, captures a good fraction of the iPhone mystique, but at a much lower price. How hard can it be to meld Treo phone software in a TX ?
  17. #37  
    Quote Originally Posted by Malatesta View Post
    Re: size, you give it a D+?

    It seems to fit very well within a pocket and you neglect the whole SideKick/LG enV; lx260/Helio Ocean line, instead sticking to thin flips w/ no touch screen, poor resolution and no qwerty KB.

    If the Sidekick is as popular as it is, how/why can't the Centro compete? (BTW, have you ever used a SK? God their awful: huge, screen is crap, track ball is odd, etc.)

    Plus it's still cheaper than Sidekicks, Razr2's, etc. (what fashion conscious kid wants an old razr, eh?)
    Well, the grade was for size not price (which it would get a B). For size, I would grade a Sidekick as an F.

    Perhaps D+ for size is a little harsh, but coming from academia, remember that C means average. And I consider the average competition for the Centro to be the Q/Dash/Blackjack. And the Centro is definitely chunkier than these devices. So no better than C- (unless you grade on a B average, then the Centro gets a C+ :-)). I completely don't buy the argument that due to a touchscreen, Treo's must be several millimeters thicker than non-touch screen devices. I know that that's false (because the touchscreen is a microscopic conductive layer on the glass), and the iPhone and Samsung i780 clearly demonstrate that point.

    If you pull out the volume == size argument, then I say that the Centro made the wrong tradeoff in shrinking the screen and keyboard size.

    BTW, not sure why you say "thin flips with poor resolution". Most recent thin flips (e.g. RAZR2 and Katana II/DLX) have very good QVGA screens.

    Remember this thread was about a Palm phone for the masses. None of these phones are truly for the masses, not the Sidekick, the Q or the env. Not even the iPhone... although if Palm could sell 3mil Centros, that would be great... And so, in terms of size, I don't think the Centro is sized for the masses. Nevermind that the masses would thrash the Centro within a week of throw it around, in pockets and purses like other phones for the masses.

    Remember that women control a majority of the market. A Palm phone for the masses must slip easily in an evening purse without drawing attention. (I know I'm a tough grader, but...)
  18. #38  
    Quote Originally Posted by neurocutie View Post
    Remember this thread was about a Palm phone for the masses.
    Actually, this thread was about how this is basically a 755p in a new format

    The Centro is what it is: an intro level smartphone, meant to take people who want more out of a simple flip but less than a full, expensive smartphone OS. It's also far less intimidating than WM for novel users.

    I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

    I own a Moto Q and while it sure is thin, I find it too wide and not as satisfying ergonomically even compared to an old Treo. The Centro's balance of width and thickness seems quite nice, especially with the curved back. Slab devices are not comfortable to use, imo.

    Sidekick may get an "F" but it proves the point: size doesn't always matter (nor style, ahem) but rather features are important for specific areas of the market, and this can result in a very successful device (line). What is Sprint's "sidekick killer"? Moto Q? Maybe.

    Re: touchscreen = thicker, I'm actually not aware of anyone who seriously makes that argument. It was always speculation around here as one reason, but no one knew for sure and Palm I don't recall has ever said that is the reason either.
    BTW, not sure why you say "thin flips with poor resolution". Most recent thin flips (e.g. RAZR2 and Katana II/DLX) have very good QVGA screens.
    The Razr2/Katana II are 320x240 compared to a 320x320 on the Centro, hence worse. It's not a bad screen, but fact is 320x320 is just higher. Are their flips with 320x320 resolution or higher? I dunno. (Plus Katana II doesn't even have 3g).
    Last edited by Malatesta; 09/30/2007 at 02:18 PM.

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  19. #39  
    it's a cool little phone (could have been better finished in my opinion) but it's too bad that it can't double as a business device as well (at least for me).

    get something, lose something.
    Blackberry Pearl (AT&T), Apple 3G iPhone,
    owned and used: Treo 750 (WM5, Cingular)
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  20. ~Q~
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    #40  
    I really believe this device is going to sell. POS may be out of date for the power user, but it is still the easiest Smartphone OS out there to use. People are going to buy this thing for its size, ease of use, functionality and PRICE.

    It may only be a 755P in a new form factor, but show me where you can get a 755P for 100 bucks.

    Yes, I've previously hacked on this device, but I've since had some time to think about it and read the reviews. I think Palm is on to something. The only other smartphone out there that really competes with this thing is a Pearl and I think the Centro offers more than a Pearl.
    Last edited by ~Q~; 09/30/2007 at 03:02 PM.
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