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Palm Centro Software Enhancements List

As I briefly mentioned the other day when I reviewed in our new Centro Software Store, it appears that the Palm Centro team has made quite a few software improvements over previous Treo smartphones.  Having said this, one of the main problems is that the company appears to have completely forgotten to tell anybody exactly what these improvements might be… 

Having said this, Palm did reply to my request for additional information providing me with a few of these Centro software enhancements and separately I am still awaiting to hear from the company with regards to specific hardware enhancements (such as Bluetooth for example).

Palm Centro - Calls Backlight Palm Centro - SMS Short Code

Power Saving Mode
The Palm Centro team have finally executed on the suggestion that I had made at the time of the Treo 680 launch regarding the matter of turning your screen OFF during calls in order to enhance overall battery life.

Now you can simply go to Preferences > Power and set “Backlight during calls” (image above left) to ‘off’ and thus increase your talk time by having the screen turned off during calls.  Pressing any button during a call will bring the screen back on.

SMS Short Code Translation
Another new enhancement now allows you to simply enter the word ‘yahoo’ or any other 4, 5 or 6 digit alphanumeric into the SMS ‘To’ line (image above right) and your Centro will automatically translate this to a 12-key numeric equivalent.

Palm Centro SMS Palm Centro Quick Launch

Inbound/Outbound SMS Graphics
A minor enhancement here consists of the addition of small graphics indicating whether the last message in your SMS is Inbound (Green down arrow) or Outbound (Yellow up arrow) – it’s not much but it actually helps to better keep track of your messages thus making the Centro’s SMS application even better (it’s arguably still very much the very best of any smartphone in the world today).

Quick Launch Favorites From Anywhere
As existing Treonauts will know the Treo and now Centro allows you to set up to 70 Favorite buttons in the Phone application.  When creating these Favorites you are presented with the option to add a Quick Key (above right) using any alpha letter on your keyboard. 

Previously these Quick Keys could only be used from within the Phone application but on the Centro you can now launch them from anywhere.  Simply Press + Hold down one of your Quick Keys from any application and it will launch your Favorite (unless of course you are in a text field).  For example, say you have your significant other’s mobile programmed to ‘2’ … press and hold ‘2’ while reading your email and then voila, your call is automatically initiated.   

Palm Centro Applications LauncherMost Recently Used Applications Launcher
This is not a new enhancement on the Centro but because I had completely forgotten that it existed on my Treo 680 I thought that it might be worthwhile pointing out how this feature works again.

By simply pressing and holding down your Applications (Home) button for a couple of seconds you will automatically get a small pop-up (image left) on the right hand corner of your screen listing your 8 most recently used applications - particularly helpful if like me you have a ton of icons in your software list.

Notable Other New Applications or Versions

  • pTunes Deluxe 4.0 ($39.99 value) which is fully compatible with Microsoft PlaysForSure and features album art as well as streaming radio stations among many others.
  • Docs To Go 10 ($49.99 value): this latest version provides even more increased native Office compatibility
  • Versamail 4.0 with background send and easier setup
  • Free Astraware Sudoku game ($19.95 value) on board
  • The bundled IM application provides support for AIM, MSN and/or Yahoo! to instant message your buddy list while on the go.

As I mentioned earlier, I hope to also be able to create another similar post pointing out the hardware enhancements of the Centro as soon as Palm is able to provide me with this information.

Centronauts are always looking for enhancements


Posted by Andrew on October 16, 2007 at 08:02 PM

Palm Centro

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Comments

1
by David | Oct 16, 2007 9:44:02 PM

Hi Andrew

Thanks for the really useful into.


When I got my Treo 680 I made a list of new bugs/problem and old unfixed bugs/problems. Please let me know if any of these are indeed fixed in the Centro.

And if not, perhaps you could consider passing those that you agree with on to the PalmOS developers:


NEW PROBLEMS
- Response considerably slower then Treo 650 (e.g. moving cursor in app list).
- Much fewer phone favourites visible in one screen height (4 or so).
- Many duplicates of automatic GRPS settings - new one after each reset.
- Preferred GPRS connection forgotten when reset (treo 650 remembered).
- Much fewer photo albums visible in one screen height (only 4).
- Midnight theme no longer there (only way to get nice black background).
- The lowest LCD brightness (used when reading in darkness) broken/pulsates.
- The Danish letter capital Ø is no longer possible to write - only ø.
- The Danish letter ø is much harder to get to. It should be on alt+o like treo 650.


OLD PROBLEMS STILL THERE
- Still ugly blinding white 2-pixel screen border. Even in fullscreen apps/games.
- Font antialiasing is missing - all other PDAs have it.
- Blazer's (small) bold font looks horrible. Spacing hugely uneven.
- Tasks cannot be shown in Day view (I use only Day view).
- Tasks cannot have a ASAP setting - only dates.
- Time is several minutes wrong after reset (though less than treo 650).
- Default appointment duration unchangable.
- Appointment start time cannot be changed without changing its end.
- Keyboard light often much too bright compared to the LCD brightness (you don't want the keyboard to be brighter than the screen).
- LCD hard to read in direct sunlight. E.g. GARMIN GPS is much brighter.
- No way to set LCD brightness when reading an SMS (fullscreen).
- No way to (auto) turn off keyboard light saving battery in daylight.
- You waste several seconds for each SMS to be sent before you can press the red off button and put the phone back in your pocket (frustraing as it happens maybe 20 times a day). Unless you want it to be on in your pocket.
- Auto Date and Time doesn't work (works on my Nokia phones same SIM).
- Default font way too big and rather ugly. Smaller font option missing.
- No way to transfer any file/MP3s over bluetooth (or infrared).
- No file browser.
- Phone connection icon black - so black background impossible - it hides it.
- Chat color settings on incoming SMS'es totally missing.
- 'Always create chat' in SMS doesn't work: First incoming SMS still doesn't give you a chat-mode. Receiving the first SMS from someone 99% of the time you want to reply but this takes three clicks instead of the usual chat mode.
- Blazer still often uses 110% of the screen width instead of simply 100%.

2
by tommy | Oct 17, 2007 12:09:43 AM

Question: The palm o/s is still listed as version 5.4.9. Wouldn't you expect them to up the version number to indicate that changes have been made?

As far a I know, the software should be exactly the same as the treo 680.

Just wondering...

3
by Conrad | Oct 17, 2007 4:29:05 AM

I'm not sure if this was available in the 700p or in the 755p, but if you call customer support by dialing *2, you can press the spacebar to display the phone's technical information while on that call.

4
by Paul Thompson | Oct 17, 2007 8:37:58 AM

I'd REALLY love to see these improvements in a future update for my Treo 680. Anyone care to guess what the chance of this might be?

5
by Irad | Oct 17, 2007 8:54:03 AM

If anyone uses Versamail with an Activesync Exchgange Server, I'd like to know what improvements there are in 4.0

6
by Gareth | Oct 17, 2007 8:55:24 AM

I think the Palm OS version refers to the overall shell and functionality. Things like the Preferences and SMS client are actually applications. For instance, my Preferences app is v.1.4, and my SMS app is v2.6.1. Hopefully these apps can be upgraded in the same way that the camera app was upgraded on the 680 to fix the power bug.

7
by t4evr | Oct 17, 2007 9:03:25 AM

How about this bug, still there in Centro ?

- On the "HotSyncLog" page, the "done" button does not react to the 5-way Nag center button click. Need to press it on screen. Same problem with its page up/down onscreen button.

Good to have : click on "phone connection" icon to open up the Network preference page. (similar to the bluetooth icon which bring it to the BT setting page) will allow a fast way to go to network setting.

8
by Andrew | Oct 17, 2007 10:55:48 AM

David - thanks for your comment and your very comprehensive list of issues. Here are my replies:


- Overall the Centro feels a lot more responsive than my Treo 680.
- The original Phone Favorites are back on the Centro
- I have no information about the GPRS settings
- Photo albums remain at 4 per screen
- There are still 34 different Colour Themes (in Preferences) but Midnight is not available
- The lowest LCD brightness (used when reading in darkness) does not appear to pulsate.
- I have no information on the Danish letters.

- White 2-pixel screen border has finally been removed!
- No font antialiasing.
- Blazer's (small) bold font looks fine on my screen.
- Tasks still don't have an ASAP setting - only dates.
- Time (assigned from Network) works fine on my Centro.
- You cannot change your Default appointment duration (set at 60 minutes).
- You can now change your appointment start time without changing its end.
- The keyboard light on the Centro is now much less bright compared to the LCD brightness so as not to "shine" too much in the dark.
- Have not had issue reading screen in direct sunlight but obviously always more difficult.
- You can now set your LCD brightness when reading an SMS (fullscreen).
- Still no way to (auto) turn off keyboard light saving battery in daylight but not really required as keyboard keys are now much less bright than before.
- There will always be a short delay to turn your smartphone off when sending an SMS.
- Auto Date and Time works fine.
- Default fonts (large and small) work fine.
- Have not tested Bluetooth file transfer.
- Still no built-in file browser but there are many third-party applications for this such as FileProg.
- Although there are no chat color settings on incoming SMS'es you nonetheless now have the Inbound/Outbound icons which helps.
- 'Always create chat' in SMS still doesn't work: First incoming SMS still doesn't give you a chat-mode.
- I have not noticed any issues with Blazer using 110% of the screen width instead of simply 100%.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, A.

9
by Liberty For ALL! | Oct 17, 2007 11:52:52 AM

Hmm, no Opera Mini included -- Blazer sucks... Anyone else had Treo 650 reboot problems trying to Run beta 2 of Opera Mini 4?

See:
http://operamini.com

-----
Ron Paul President 2008!
http://ronpaul2008.com

10
by David | Oct 17, 2007 2:06:02 PM

Hi again, Andrew


Thanks so much for your answers! I'm surprised at how much has been fixed. That's great!


> more responsive, original Phone Favorites, change appointment
> start time without changing its end and white 2-pixel screen removed
Perfect! I'm buying that phone !


> Time (assigned from Network) works fine on my Centro.
Perhaps it's a GSM only bug with some networks (we don't have CDMA in Europe).


> Default fonts (large and small) work fine.
I meant PalmOS only has large fonts - I can't set a smaller font for Calender, Contacts etc. - only the default huge font.


> no chat color settings on incoming SMS'es you
> now have the Inbound/Outbound icons which helps.
Sure - coloring the text would really help though and it's already there - just the wrong unchangable colors :)


> There will always be a short delay to turn
> your smartphone off when sending an SMS.
Why shouldn't the user be able to turn on key lock (red button) while it sends and put it in her pocket? Why should she wait 2 seconds, THEN turn on key lock and then put it her pocket. I can't understand why there will _always_ be a delay... Palm can lock keys when I talk but not while sending an SMS? That's weird.


> The lowest LCD brightness does not appear to pulsate.
It's really hard to reach. You can only reach it by tapping 10-20 times on the slider (left end) just where the backlight turns off completely - or by tapping approx 15 pixels right of the left then pressing left on the nav-buttons (which moves in huge steps - no way to finetune other than tapping).


> I have no information on the Danish letters.
Simply type o or O and then Alt and see if ø or Ø is in the Alt list (it might not be there as was the problem with treo 680). If it's not there it's probably on space or . and Alt next to | and ® or so.


> Blazer's (small) bold font looks fine on my screen.
On treo 680 the spapcing before t and g especially and after f is way too high. Like "abcdf ghijkl" and "opqrst uvwxy". Here's a better example - look at the t in "hin t":

http://david.filskov.dk/blazer_bold_spacing_wrong.jpg

11
by David | Oct 17, 2007 2:08:03 PM

To: Paul/Liberty For ALL!

Yes - Opera mini renders pages nicely but so far it's very unstable and really slow.

12
by amy | Oct 17, 2007 3:17:23 PM

The biggest issue I have is the LED flashing thing--it NEEDS to have a "new message" alert function.

13
by David | Oct 17, 2007 4:10:54 PM

Amy,

The LED can be controlled (turn off where needed) by the freeware application LEDOff:

http://treoware.com

But I agree that it could be used for lots of other purposes - if you mean it could flash until an incoming SMS was read. Good idea. Also for reminders when sound is off.

14
by Buff | Oct 17, 2007 6:05:39 PM

Andrew,

I just want to point out that once the little pop up with the last 8 used apps is on screen if you continue to hold the Home button you will jump back to the most recently used app.

15
by David | Oct 18, 2007 4:02:47 PM

Oh btw, I assume on the Centro 'Always create chat' in SMS also doesn't work when you send an SMS like with 650/680.

I assume it still doesn't use chat-mode for one outgoing SMS :( - on 650/860 the sent SMS doesn't appear among the other chats. It seems to disappear (actually it's "lost" in the outbox).

Probably because Palm didn't think of creating a 'Chat' view/folder but only Inbox (used for chats) and Outbox folders.


Andrew, do you know how I can contact Palm with bug reports? I have numerous bugs but nowhere to send them (I can only reach support and they never acknowledge bugs).

Cheers
- David

16
by Buff | Oct 19, 2007 9:46:31 AM

David,

the condition you describe only occurs with the initial outgoing SMS and that SMS can be found in the sent folder after it leaves the Outbox.

I note as well that if there is already an existing Chat in the Inbox to the recipient of the new SMS, it is automatically added to the existing Chat.

To my thinking this is a logical way of handling the 'Chat Mode' (not a bug) if there is no response to your SMS. That is, a single Sent message does not belong in the Inbox. It does not belong in the Inbox that would suggest that a response was received.

17
by David | Oct 19, 2007 7:16:51 PM

Buff,

I agree completely - for the default setting. But once the user has turned on 'Always Create Chat' I think it's fair to assume the user means 'always'.

I think turning on the 'Always Create Chat' feature is telling the app that the user likes the chat concept and thus - like every other instant messaging program - the user wants SMSes presented the way they normally are in other IM apps on Mac, Linux or PC.

Palm might not consider SMSing instant messaging but isn't SMS instant messaing like ICQ MSN, Skype, Jabber etc? - and why shouldn't it simply be put into the IM app as any other protocol?
Are there any need for a seperate app for each protocol? - Other IM apps don't use old-fashion in- and outbox email folder concepts - why should SMS be different?

I see a good reason for having the choice of presenting SMSes either as Emails (with in- and outbox and so on) - or as normal IM chats like Skype, ICQ, MSN etc.
In Email mode SMSes could simply be implemented in VersaMail as a seperate account - whereas in IM mode SMSes could be implemented in the PDAs general IM app (I believe Centro has a nice one built in).

18
by JordanP | Oct 24, 2007 12:11:13 AM

I THINK There is a file browser.. I say that because when I first got my Centro, it wasn't there... even tried to install it from Palms website and it said not available for my model.

Then during some mishap I ended up having to hard reset my phone.. Viola! It's now there, the original Palm "Files" program, Version 2.1. Even more oddly, there isn't an app in available to "Delete", which leads me to believe it's actually on the ROM like PTunes and some of the other built in apps.

As for Sending via Bluetooth... you can do that With the Files App just fine, and any 3rd party app that supports it... (Such as Rosco Explorer)

I also saw some chat coloring options for SMS... I use it for the Names only, but I think you can allow it to color the entire message if needed.. Overall I LOVE my Centro.

19
by Sanjiv Thakor | Oct 25, 2007 2:05:58 PM

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the excellent reviews (as always). My question is regarding voice dialing using Bluetooth. Does the OS on Centro support voice dialing through Bluetooth? I have "VoiceDialIt" and I like it a lot. I can voice dial through a regular headset on my treo 700p. Last I had heard was that the Plam OS Bluetooth Library did not support voice dialing over the bluetooth headset. Is that still the case or have they enhanced that functionality in Centro?

Thanks,

Sanjiv

20
by Robin | Jun 2, 2008 10:42:19 AM

I can't get my clock and calendar on my PHONE page to change fonts (too small -- I'm geting old). Is there a way to do that? Thanks.

21
by Paul Lebow | Jun 24, 2008 9:27:06 PM

Can't get two columns of favorites or favorites pages on AT&T phone. Have to scroll through entire list. Any 3rd part fixes?

Thanks

22
by Yishai | Aug 3, 2008 8:14:03 AM

I cannot seem to send SMS's back to ICQ on my new Centro? Does anyone know what to do? Also, I cannot get it to accept the word ICQ on the message "To:" like suggested above. Please help.

23
by Tim | Dec 29, 2008 3:42:12 PM

How do you erase recipients from the treo 800w that you dont want anymore. There is a recipient on my phone that is not a contact number. I want to get rid of it.

24
by Brianna | Apr 13, 2010 10:46:19 PM

Hey! I have been struggling to find out how to change the font color of recieved texts on the Centro. It's a purple color. I have only found out how to change my font color. Any help on how to change that to? If possible..

Thanks (:

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