San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Smartphone Centro Coming to Costa Rica

Move over Blackberry. Here comes Centro.

Palm Inc. will introduce its newest smartphone to Costa Rican consumers at a price of ¢250,000 (about $500).

As with other smart phones on the market, Palm Centro boasts voicemail, text, instant messaging, email and Web services.

It also is equipped with an agenda and calendar functions, among other programs.

Not all of its gadgets can be accessed locally, however.

Spokeswoman Paola Ramírez said some multimedia functions will not work in the country due to technological limitations of the local network, controlled by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).

“Here we see ourselves limited,” Ramírez said. “Users can’t exploit all the tools the (Palm Centro) has.”

Mobile access should loosen up in coming years. The Legislative Assembly passed a liberalizing telecom bill tied to the Central American Free Trade Agreement last week.

Canadian company Research in Motion has also agreed to sell its Blackberry through ICE in Costa Rica. Roughly 1,500 of their models should hit the market in July 2008. Prices will range from ¢250,000 to ¢350,000 ($500-$700).

The Palm Centro – available in red and blue models – will be available at a variety of local stores, including Play, Gollo, Universal and Office Depot.


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