Palm Centro: Making Sure That I Don’t Take Vacation Days…Plus: A Quick Trip Report.

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Maybe you didn’t notice: I’ve been on the road since early Sunday morning.

In the past I’ve always had an excuse for enjoying some precious days off from updating this website while traveling, but now I have a Palm Centro.

The Centro is the best device from Palm yet.

At first I had my reservations, the thumbpad seems to small to be usable, and the casing a little too “plasticky.” However after some use it was clear that the Centro is a winner.

It is significantly smaller and lighter than previous Treos, it actually feels like a regular phone when you’re holding it.

As far as the thumbpad-I was pleasantly surprised with how good the accuracy was.

It has a speedy processor and suffers none of the lags than plagued some previous Treo’s.

Even better: The internet speeds and push email functionality are top-notch.

The Centro has the fastest web-browsing that I have seen on a phone, and it performs flawlessly and swiftly when tethered to a laptop. (I’m talking about speeds better than the wretched AT&T DSL that I recently canceled when I finally made the switch to cable!)

Best of all: Sprint doesn’t charge me a penny to use their high-speed EV-DO data network and the push-email program and service is on the house!

Blackberry-What for?!?



As for where I was…

Sunday: In Crown Heights at the L’chaim (engagement party) of Yarden Blumstein, my chassidus chavrusa (learning partner) of 5 consecutive years!

Monday: In Monsey at the wedding of a first cousin of mine, Avigail Eleff to Ariel Fogel—Mazal Tov!
(Special kudos to Eli for the place card…lol)
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Monday night was spent at the Sheraton in nearby Mahwah, NJ. This was really a beautiful hotel. It cost a whole $60 thanks to priceline, and they gave me a sweet Starwood Gold upgraded suite on the club level just for the asking!

Finally, thanks to Sruly Kotlarsky for the tip to dine at the Purple Pear in Monsey yesterday-I can heartily recommend it!

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32 Comments On "Palm Centro: Making Sure That I Don’t Take Vacation Days…Plus: A Quick Trip Report."

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Sam

dan how about a post about all of your tech gadgets we want to know more about what you think is good to use.

menachem

im getting the centro within the next few days. what applications/hacks do you have for it? also, how do i tether with it, obviously the free way? maybe you can make a whole post about the centro.

anon10

dan can you please write a post on how to tether it or post a link of a site that explains it well

Yossi W.

Dan,
I just got the Centro and it works fine but I think the battery wears out too quickly. Otherwise I think it is awesome. Plus if you have bluetooth on your laptop you can control your laptop with the program blueremote for presentations and stuff.

By the way in Sprint’s terms and conditions it specifically says that you can’t use your phone tethered to your laptop, but I have read posts from people online that say that they do it and don’t get caught.

K

and a post on taxes.

Schneur

i have sprint service what the best option to have the centro for a good price?

M

Dan: could you give more details about getting that Sheraton room on Priceline… (I was thinking of going for a night out… on Thanksgiving)

email

How do you set up push pop or yahoo email?

Dan/Ctownbochur

Sam:
I’ll consider it.

Menachem :
I am using an app called USB Modem (Ver. 1.59) for tethering-it works great.
(hint: http://www.c4pda.com is a great site, but you need to make a few posts in their forum to get full access…)

Yossi W.:
As long as you don’t go overboard with tethering it’s not a problem.

K:
Tax advice is far beyond the scope of this site, please go to a competent accountant.

M:
I bid on a 3 star in Mahwah, NJ to get it.

Dan/Ctownbochur

Push email for any account is provided by the capable sprint mobile email app that comes with the Centro.

Yossi W.

As far as tethering your laptop to your centro you want to use either “PDANet” or “USB Modem” software to do so. PDANet costs $34 and is available at http://www.junefabrics.com/palmnet/ .

USB Modem is said to work better ( and it is only $25) and is available at http://www.mobile-stream.com/usbmodem.html .

As far as software, http://www.pda4x.com/ has a lot of stuff but it is pirated.

The Centro comes with built in Google Maps and you can download Sefarim and stuff from:

http://jewishcontent.org/pda/palm/
http://www.sichosinenglish.org/pda/palm/
http://www.pilotyid.com/

Yossi W.

Dan, what do you mean by overboard?
Because I think they will notice if you are using over 100mb/day surfing on regular websites, no?

Dan/Ctownbochur

They don’t care about one day’s usage, but if you’re using gigabytes of bandwidth every month, that will probably raise a red flag.

Allen S

Thanks for the review! Question about tethering: Once I have unlimited data, do I need to pay a separate fee or sign up for a separate plan to tether? Also, can you provide a link for setting up the tether? Thanks!

menachem

there is no free program to tether? or a hack like you had for the 755p?

Dan/Ctownbochur

Officially you need a separate plan to tether, unofficially it works with many 3rd party apps.

The 755p hack should still work.

Mordy

I know dan is a Palm fan, but he clearly hasn’t tried a recent WM-based device. Been using push email for the last two years (without a bb), and my web browsing experience is not-notch… I have native fash video suppot (for sites like youtube), streaming audio video using the open-source shoutcast, or Orb/slingplayer for place-shifting live broadcasts, great a2dp support (stream shmaisradio from my car), plus the picsel browser has the smooth scrolling finger navigation and zoom popularized by the iphone (yet it predates the iphone by 2 years). You can totally tweak the OS to look and act however you want (I installed extensions to mimic the iphone to shut up some apple fans for a while, complete with finger-scrolling navigation on any part of the OS).
I’m also running MS Remote Desktop, Skype and other applications on a regular basis that are difficult if not impossible to run on a Palm OS device.

And the best part- form factor OPTIONS!
All current palm phones have the blackberry-ish keyboard-under-screen layout. This is ok for some, but personally I don’t use the keyboard often enough to warrant having 30+ keys ALWAYS THERE of which I’ll only need 9 to dial most of the time.
My current WM phone (by HTC) is one of the popular slide-out-keyboard models, so I have a full qwerty when I need it, but it hides under the screen when I don’t, which makes the phone much smaller overall, and giving me that precious screen real estate.

Centro is great because its cheap. If you want a real mobile powerhouse, Palm just doesn’t cut it. I know Dan is probably going to flame me for this, but I think it needs to be said.

Bottom line: Don’t just choose a device because someone else thinks its the best. Pick a device that suits you- BB for simple email and basic business options, iphone if you want to be stylish but give up some basic features, palm if you want to delve into the PDA hybrid world, but still keep it simple enough for a phone, and Symbian for high-end features while still looking like a basic phone (big fan of those).
Windows Mobile is the most versatile and powerful of all things on the market currently, however it IS admittedly not for everyone, especially those who are not willing to spend the time to customize and tweak their device to perfection.

However, anyone following the industry has surely heard about Google’s new open-source phone OS, “Android” which already has an SDK available, and will be released very shortly to the public. This will most likely change EVERYTHING, so, if you’re the type to only buy one phone every year or two, I’d wait a little bit and see how this plays out…

mendel

The processor leaves a little to be desired. The xscale 312 Mhz is on the low end for smart phones nowadays although it is better than some of the korean models. Still, expect some lags when running phone intensive apps.

mendel

Oh and Mordy, HTC is a prime example of a company that uses the most sluggish processors on the market.

Yossi W.

Mordy:
I wouldn’t argue with you about Windows Mobile being ahead of the game. If you are willing to put out the initial investment for the better WM device then that is totally worth it, but for those that only need an entry level smartphone for now, the Centro is a great value for it’s $99 price tag.

Those HTC touch phones look really good though, and I read that HTC will be coming out with phones that can run Android.

Very cool.

Dan/Ctownbochur

Mordy and I have had some fun debates in the past that I have no interest in rehashing.

I have played with the latest in WM phones and my opinion remains that the Palm OS (and the Palm Centro specifically) still offers the best overall experience for most users with the perfect blend of stability, an intuitive and easy to use phone, tons of excellent 3rd party apps, great web browsing, easy modem tethering, and now a top-notch email experience.

True, Palm lags behind WM in innovation, and power-users should definitely try out WM—However neither WM nor Palm is ready to replace my laptop, and therefore Palm OS’s keep-it-simple approach for a device which is foremost a solid phone is my personal preference.

Dan/Ctownbochur

Oh yes, I do have high hopes for Google’s Android.

Ezzie

I’ll just say Mazel Tov to all the Eleffs. 🙂

M

Dan: how much did you bid for? (before taxes)

Dan/Ctownbochur

I bid $60.

Shalom K.

Dan, Now that we all know you are using Palm OS. Can you post some good 3’rd party software and links to download them. I have a treo, but know I am not using it out to its fullest b/c I dont know how. Can you help?

Dan/Ctownbochur

Check out the forums at pdaphone.com, there is tons of great application advice.

Mordy

::blinks::
wow. Ok, guess Dan’s not up for another heated debate. Darn.

(for those that didn’t follow last time around, Dan used to be a moderator on a Palm forum – and I used to write WM articles for theboygeniusreport.com, and soon for mopocket.com – clearly we’ve come from very passionate positions about our devices of choice!)
I know I’m hijacking this thread, but I feel the need to bring this up every time Dan makes a Palm-centric post, just to balance things out! 😉

Just so you all know, I’ve recommended Palm’s to people before, I’ve got nothing against them, but they’re not for me personally. I wouldn’t argue about the benefits of Windows Mobile quite as much if Dan weren’t so gung-ho about his Palm being the ultimate device! I will say that one of the big pluses here is the Centro’s price tag. That, along with the simple Palm OS makes this a fantastic choice for those trying out a PDA-phone for the first time.
(Although Dan would be proud- after all rebates and referral / promotion credits for signing up with sero, my Windows-Mobile based Mogul ended up being about $20 or so. Can’t say that I’d be able to reproduce that deal again tho!).

Oh, and Mendel, “HTC is a prime example of a company that uses the most sluggish processors on the market”… that’s just ignorant, I’m sorry. My current device uses a cutting edge dual-core Qualcomm 7500 chip. It clocks in at 400Mhz for the PDA, and the second core runs at something like 133Mhz to drive the phone. This way the phone and PDA don’t have to fight for CPU power. This multi-core CPU approach is totally new in a mobile device. The Xscale 312Mhz in the Centro is actually based on older Armv9 technology- its tried and true, which is why Palm wanted to use it, but the TI Omap 200Mhz chips that HTC used in its PPC’s from two years have higher benchmarks. Look it up if you don’t believe me!

shayshay

I hope you didnt drink from the hotel’s glasses!!!!

Shalom Goldberg

What is the hack for the 755p which will also work on the Centro to tether for free????

Chaya

Hi Daniel,
A few of my nephews will be having their Bar Mitzvah’s in the coming weeks. I’d rather give them something then cash (hey, I know what I wasted my money on at that age). Any suggestions?

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