Verizon Wireless will begin offering Palm’s Centro smartphone beginning tomorrow. Dressed in a crisp cobalt blue, the Centro provides customers access to text messaging, e-mail and mobile Web, as well as voice services. The Palm Centro will be available on Verizon’s Website and in stores for $99.99 after a $70 mail-in rebate with a new 2-year customer agreement. Along with the Centro, Verizon is also offering its unlimited monthly data plan for smartphones for $29.99.
While a pioneer to the smartphone market, Palm has seen its market share flagging over recent years, but the Centro has seen positive results for the handset maker.
Matt Thornton, telecommunications equipment analyst at Avian Securities, wrote in a research note that Verizon’s launch of Palm’s Centro and Palm’s new slimmer Treo due out in July or August should generate some positive returns for Palm in the “short to medium term.”
The Centro has been available at Sprint and AT&T for some time. “Although it has seen very good penetration at Sprint,” Thornton continued, “our surveys are showing that this penetration has topped out. Inroads at AT&T have been less impressive.” Thornton also doesn’t expect Palm’s new slimmer Treo (800w/850w), to be a “game changer,” but does expect it will boost ASPs and gross margins for the company.
Along with the Centro announcement, Verizon also announced the upcoming availability of three new handsets from LG: the LG Dare, LG Decoy and the new LG Chocolate 3. All three handsets are scheduled to debut with Verizon in July.