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  1. #1
    Professional Amateur i500 Tinkerer
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    i500 died - switch to Centro

    Well, it finally happenedÖ.my i500 dropped and broke completely. I had been a loyal user for years. After resisting switching to a Centro for a while, I went with it as the replacement. I know many of you, like I was, have considered the Centro. As a heavy user of the i500 who does a lot of modifications and hacks, I thought Iíd share with you my experience and reviews of the switch to the Centro.

    First, let me say that the switch has been much easier than I thought. In fact, I now wished Iíd switched earlier. While there are some drawbacks to the phone relative to the i500, the advantages more than outweigh them. I now can simply transfer JPG or other pictures, and MPEG or AVI videos, right to the phone, and need only half the applications as the new Palm OS comes with many of the former hacks built in.

    It has an option within the calculator, for example, to use a fancier one with more functions. And you can do menu-c and menu-p to cut and paste from and to practically anywhere like you can do on a computer with control-c and control-v. I used to have a hack for this. I also used to have a hack that listed the battery %, which now is on the phone already, and also one that was mcphling or something that listed the previously used applicationsÖagain something you can do built in already on the new Palm OS.

    I now have a real WAV song as a ringer, something Iíve wanted for years. Itís as simple as finding one on line with the browser and downloading it by clicking on it. And I can download the applications (prc files) the same way. There is a rumor you can only use MIDI files, but itís not true. By downloading from the web you can use WAV files, even really big ones as the ringtone.

    So far, Iíve been really impressed with the little 5 way navigator. You know how on the i500 if you are looking at a dayís schedule that runs off the screen, you canít use the down key to see whatís below, as down takes you to the next day? Well the five way controller fixes thisÖ.down goes down on that day, while right goes to the next day. In fact, this five way controller is my favorite new thing on this phone relative to the i500.

    I thought Iíd miss graffiti. I donít. My error rate is almost zero now with the keyboard. Despite using graffiti for over 15 years, I still made lots of mistakes, especially with letters like v. Iím still shocked when I look up to check my spelling (which has become routine for me on my i500) to see it all spelled correctly.

    I do miss the desktop cradle, the centro doesnít come with one. But you can order one on line from a third party vendor, and I have one on order.

    I do miss voice dialing, but with many more keys to use, the ability to set quick dials to a letter has made up for it. For example, my friend Bob can be called by simply holding down the B key, my friend George by the G key, etc. One thing that isnít as easy (and this applies to all new palm OS, like the treo) is that it doesnít handle the extra digits (e.g., passwords) as well. You have to set them up as a favorite, go to the more option and add the extra numbers there using commas as spacers. Thereís no longer the two pauses inserted with keys. But at least for my voicemail I have a favorite set up that works just fine.

    The speaker phone is great as well. Also, Iíve had no problems with the phone locking / unlocking or buttons pressed while in the case or anything.

    In terms of reception, itís either identical or slightly better than my i500. I would call it a tie, but there is one room in my house where before I got no signal, that I now can make calls. Thereís another room where neither works, so itís not a big difference, but slightly better. But still Iíll call it a tie, itís definitely not worse.

    Now I havenít dropped the thing yet, which Iím worried about, although dropping my i500 is what killed it too.

    Anyway, I canít tell you all how long Iíve looked at the Centro, iPhone, Touch, etc., and have struggled with switching. I was forced to do so by my phone breaking. And, Iím simply writing to share with you the simple insight that indeed the many new things to modify and play with outweigh the small losses.

    Perhaps most striking to me was that I had it all up and running with my data and all on it within two hours of getting it. To make it easier, I simply copied the DB files for my apps, uninstalled palm desktop, reinstalled the new one, and copied those files back into the directory, and synced. I didnít have to do that, but wanted to so as to get rid of all my apps and other straggling files left over from my previous palm devices. It hasnít crashed once, despite a continuous process of installing new stuff and trying it.

    I miss my i500, and would have kept it over the Centro had it not broken. But in the end, I was overweighting what I saw as the disadvantages, and was way underestimating how much Iíd like the new Palm OS with all of its features, and the five way navigator. Iím assuming my comments would apply equally well to a Treo, though.

    I really appreciate the years of advice you all have given me on this form. Thanks again, and I hope my post is helpful to some who are in the same dilemma Iíve been for a while. If they ever do come out with a flip version i500 update, Iíll be seeing you in that forum. But for now, Iím okay, and the drawbacks werenít nearly as bad as I was thinking.

    Clearly all of this is a personal opinion, and perhaps others who value other things would feel differently. Iím just hoping to give some info here.

  2. #2
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    Very nice little write-up regarding your experience with the Centro relative to the i500...

  3. #3
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    In terms of coverage - my daughter has the centro and she gets a signal in a parking garage - where I can't get a signal -
    stevedrummer
    "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
    - Herm Albright

  4. #4
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    I recently switched to the Centro too and echo many of your comments. I would add the following:

    Bluetooth synchs--me likey. Don't miss the cradle myself.

    Screen resolution--I was going back and forth between the Centro and i500 to get all my settings right and was struck by how bad the i500 looked next to the Centro.

    Graffiti--I'm missing graffiti a bit as I have the stylus out to hit something and then have to hold it while I enter text. You can use the stylus to punch the keyboard though. I'm sure I'll get used to the keyboard and, as was said, my error rate on the i500 was pretty high.

    Stylus--crappy bendable piece of plastic. will have to order aftermarket

    Nav Ring--Works for getting around, but is often slower than just tapping the screen. Good sometimes, slower other times.

    Custom buttons--I miss my four direct shortcut buttons on the i500. You get two (calendar and mail--phone and home are pretty much required to stay as is for me) and a side button on the Centro, but the phone application has a bunch of programmable shortcut buttons.

  5. #5
    Registered User monkeyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by windfrenzy View Post
    Graffiti--I'm missing graffiti a bit as I have the stylus out to hit something and then have to hold it while I enter text.
    Doesn't Graffiti Anywhere run on the Centro ?

    I wish I could get a Graffiti Anywhere-like function on my Touch...

    But the biggest thing I miss from the PalmOS is actually silly ol' Memo+Find. There is actually no good Global Search/Find function on the Touch (or any WM device), like in PalmOS (from even the Pilot 1000), where a single Find function can search for a string in ANY app/database, give you a list of all the hits, AND upon tapping on a hit, bring you into the appropriate app and doc/db at the exact place of the hit. There is simply no WM substitute for this very basic, but to me, extremely valuable function.

    Of course I miss the flip form factor too, and the snappy response, and never crashes reliability... oh well, no perfect devices out there...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyboy View Post
    Doesn't Graffiti Anywhere run on the Centro ?
    I've read that it does work on the Centro, but I'm going to try the keyboard for a while to see if it's just a matter of getting used to it. I've only had the Centro for a week now. Seeing as I have been doing graffiti for years now (Palm Pro--i300--i500), I have to give the new system a decent trial period.

    Graffiti is just such a cool concept and actually very fast--although I never was quite as good with it on the small area of the i500.

    I use Find all the time, so I can see how lack of it would be frustrating. Until I found it on the Centro I was panicking--"oh man, don't tell me they dropped the Find function!"

  7. #7
    Registered User xa0s's Avatar
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    Hmm, looks like my i500 is dying on me. It's showing up a flickering screen between blue, pink and regular color ???

  8. #8
    Registered User monkeyboy's Avatar
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    this may seem backwards, with the Pre launch and all...

    but seeing Centros on ebay for $70, I thought I might just pick one up for ol times sake... try to activate it on PP ($30/year)... try to use all my old i500 apps...

    any tips welcome... (I'm going to hold off on the Pre, let it get debugged, and I refuse to give up my SERO plan... still happy with my Touch...)

  9. #9
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    Should not be a problem using your old i500 apps, but $70 seems high. New Sprint customers can get them for $50 new.

    You have to get a case for it cause it is so slippery and the battery case cover kinda bends and clicks.

    I had a sedio hybrid case, but it cracked. I just got a silicone case for $0.01 (plus shipping). I only wish I had orderd two!

  10. #10
    Registered User monkeyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by windfrenzy View Post
    Should not be a problem using your old i500 apps, but $70 seems high. New Sprint customers can get them for $50 new.
    There's the issue right there... $50 new is for NEW CUSTOMERS, opening a NEW line of service.

    I'm getting this Centro free and clear of any contractual obligations... and I hope to put it on PagePlus for $30/yr just to play with.

    If you know of a way to get a new Centro for $50 without signing any service contracts, please, I'm all ears!

  11. #11
    Registered User Bandersnatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyboy View Post
    this may seem backwards, with the Pre launch and all...

    but seeing Centros on ebay for $70, I thought I might just pick one up for ol times sake... try to activate it on PP ($30/year)... try to use all my old i500 apps...

    any tips welcome... (I'm going to hold off on the Pre, let it get debugged, and I refuse to give up my SERO plan... still happy with my Touch...)
    When I switched from the i500 to the 755p, I think all of my programs worked except CIC WordComplete. So, I would think you should have a similar experience with the Centro.

  12. #12
    Bohemian User jefboyardee's Avatar
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    I logged onto Sprint so they knew I wasn’t some vagabond, and they say:

    Regular price $399.99
    Instant savings -$250.00
    Mail-in Rebate -$100.00
    New price $49.99
    Requires new line or eligible
    upgrade with a 2-yr contract

    So one does not have to be new customer. Hmm...

  13. #13
    Registered User deibelsan's Avatar
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    Uh, yeah, did you notice the part about "requires new line or eligible upgrade..." so Monkeyboy would have to give up his current SERO plan. The eligible upgrades (from what I saw) are all more expensive "Everything" plans.

    No thanks. Glad I got my Centro when I did because there is no "Everything" plan as cheap as what I have. And I have unlimited data.

  14. #14
    Converged to near implant level
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    Centro is... actually fine!

    For monkeyboy & others: get Tealscript and install "legacy profile" and you can enable real Graffiti 1 on the device.

    I have adjusted in less than a week after years of being a hold out. I am no longer stuck in 2003... I am in 2007 instead!

  15. #15
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    man, actually logged onto here by accident, but couldn't resist. Do miss the form of my i500. I've grown quite accustomed to thumb boards though so as much as I liked graffiti, I don't miss it. The Centro was a big step forward for Palm even though it was two generations too late. For overall functionality and size it was easily my favorite Palm phone. Bluetooth without an adapter, speed of the web, more OS functionality, screen res and so on....

    Migrating to the Pre? No way. Don't know how Palm managed to forget they had 13yrs of mobile OS experience under their belt. They dumbed down the OS to appeal to google. They ditched tasks, memos and categories and basic local syncing. The calendar and contacts are weak. No easy to view file structure to download files off the web. No card expandability. Not to mention hardware quality is subpar and they chose form over function in the design. Curved slider and recessed keyboard are just dumb. I understand it's a gen 1 device and OS, but they're not Apple. They had years and years of mobile OS experience and knew what things mattered. I returned my after 3 days. I'll wait till 2nd gen hardware comes out. Maybe they won't overthink things in round two.
    Save at least 15% on ProClip Products. PM me for info how to order. My website is down now that I dumped comcast for verizon.

  16. #16
    Registered User blazorboy's Avatar
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    I think the Treo755p is a better unit than the Centro, even if a bit of a brick.

    Hey old corgs!

    BB
    That'sssssssss all folks!

  17. #17
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    man, doesn't anybody leave this place?

    I think you have a toss up between the two. 755/670 if you want the larger screen and better keyboard or the centro if you want pocketability. I think the Centro is a little peppier too and the 2nd gen has more memory to boot.

    Sad to say I'm using a Treo Pro at the moment. It's not a bad phone in general, but definitely not as convenient as PalmOS. WinMob can't even make use of user fields. Have to move everything over to notes. I hate to say it, but I might be forced over to an iPhone, because with our CRM setup at work, "there's an app for that". uggh. I'm sure I'm going to like all the apps and the slickness of things, but itunes and apple? Makes me cringe.
    Save at least 15% on ProClip Products. PM me for info how to order. My website is down now that I dumped comcast for verizon.

  18. #18
    Registered User blazorboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crogs571 View Post
    man, doesn't anybody leave this place?

    Sad to say I'm using a Treo Pro at the moment. .
    My, how the mighty have fallen!!



    Due to work considerations, I am using a Blackberry as well as the Treo.

    The BB 8900 is actually impressive, save for its PIM (nothing better than the old Palm PIM/Desktop). It runs multiple cool apps at the same time.

    Take good care,

    B B
    That'sssssssss all folks!

  19. #19
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    tell me about it. Still have my i500 and centro. I picked up the Treo Pro afte I returned the Pre. I liked having the built in gps for quick lookup of things while traveling. The wifi is nice too in a few places where I don't have coverage (the gym, some hospitals). It is amazing how simple and effective the PIM is on PalmOS and it's never really been duplicated. I actually had a Tour for a week, and while I did like it, I hated the email. Yes the email. I don't understand the whole BB email phenomenon. If you use webmail (aol, yahoo and such) it sucks. No folders, no old mail. I still found myself going to mobile aol and yahoo to look things up which pretty much defeated the purpose of using bb mail. That and the lack of threaded sms and how the crack smokers keep extolling BBM. Sorry, but it's too Apple like for me. Focus on limited proprietary programs while the universal ones are left in the dark ages (BBM vs SMS). Outside of those two issues, I liked it. I think I was even able to use my user fields from PalmOS that now resid in Outlook.

    I still don't know how people cling to the i500. Maybe if SMS worked well, I could suffer through slow and limited web along with no BT. Still an amazing phone that got EOL'd way too quick.

    And you'll see a thumb board touch screen BB fairly soon. That could make for a sweet phone if they implement touch right.

    Hope all is well with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by blazorboy View Post
    My, how the mighty have fallen!!

    Due to work considerations, I am using a Blackberry as well as the Treo.

    The BB 8900 is actually impressive, save for its PIM (nothing better than the old Palm PIM/Desktop). It runs multiple cool apps at the same time.

    Take good care,

    B B
    Save at least 15% on ProClip Products. PM me for info how to order. My website is down now that I dumped comcast for verizon.

  20. #20
    Registered User deibelsan's Avatar
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    Man, I haven't been on this board in forever and what do I see, Crogs and BB?

    I personally can see how folks have held on to the i500. I see many posts from people wanting only PIM and phone, no data or anything and want to know if centro is a good purchase. I just want to scream I500.

    I do like my Centro though because I now text and do the data thing.

    Regards.

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