Forward to the Past; My Palm Centro

When last I left off, the Treo 700P I used for work had to be  turned in for a Blackberry 8830WE. I still use the BB but my personal phone was out of contract and it was time for me to upgrade. As an avid Mac user, I thought long and hard about going over to AT&T for an iPhone. After doing some due diligence work, I couldn’t find an easy solution to port my calendar and contacts on our office enterprise email and time management software (Lotus Notes on  a Domino server) over to an iPhone. So I went back to the old reliable Palm OS, this time a Palm Centro on Verizon Wireless. After about a week or so, here are my impressions.

The Centro is small. Really small. The qwerty keyboard is also small. I have small hands and have always been a ‘fingernail’ typer, even on the larger Treo and BB. I have no problem using the keyboard but I can see how it could be problematic for some. Personally, I love the small form factor. I can manipulate it very easy with a single hand. Something I can’t do with the much wider BB and the Treo. The screen is also small but the resolution and quality is very clear and legible. Then again, I have pretty good eyesight so I can also understand how it could be another problem for some.

One of my beefs with the Palm OS was not having Voice Dialing out of the box. Well, the Centro has it except it doesn’t seem to work for me over a BT headset. Since I live in a hands-free driving state, I really need to have Voice Dialing over bluetooth. The Centro also doesn’t support Mass Storage mode for the microSD card. I was used to both of these shortcomings with my Treo but it doesn’t make it any better that the Palm OS still doesn’t support these issues. I understand the OS is quite old now and Palm’s moving to the Pre but I’ll have the Centro for another couple of years having to work around this stuff.

Now the good stuff. Web browsing is so much faster than my BB. It could be the hardware or it could be the different 3G provider (Sprint for the BB) but I really prefer Blazer on the Centro to the BB browser. Versamail is an excellent little app for email and renders html which my BB still doesn’t do. The best part of the Centro is the outstanding PIM apps, specifically Datebk6. I never look at my BB anymore for my calendar if the Centro’s within arm’s reach.

I understand the Palm is running on a 4 year old operating system but I still prefer it to the RIM OS. As a personal organizer and for light surfing, texting and email, I think the Centro’s terrific.