Palm Hopes to Win Customers With More Apps

Palm Pre App Catalog.It’s no secret that much of the iPhone’s success comes from its development community. There are other great touchscreen smartphones out there, but none with application support behind the iPhone.

That’s no secret to Palm, either, and they’re hoping to offer similar support (albeit on a much smaller scale) to win some customers to the Pre. At launch the Pre sold some 50,000 phones and saw 150,000+ apps downloaded in that first weekend. That’s a solid start, but it won’t be long before Pre owners will want more.

Developers released some new Pre apps yesterday, in the midst of the Apple mayhem. The new titles included LikeMe, a restaurant/entertainment recommendation and rating service, and a sports news app for baseball fans. The Pre catalog is still smaller than tiny (like fewer than 50), but the catalog is still in beta, and only a few developers have the kit. As soon as it goes public, I’m sure you’ll see a more rapid influx of applications. Palm should make that happen soon – there’s sure to be a big rush of developers hoping to lure iPhone 3GS customers in the coming weeks.

Pre Sells 50,000 Units In First Weekend

Palm Pre and accessories.There were all sorts of doubts surrounding Palm’s Pre Launch. Whether it was a shortage of hardware, a lackluster phone, or the short-term Sprint exclusivity, plenty folks had their reasons for thinking the phone would flop.

According to early reports out of the Wall Street Journal, the Pre was a bigger hit than many expected. According to the WSJ, the Pre sold 50,000 units over the weekend, marking the launch a success, at least for now. By comparison, the iPhone sold 146,000 units at launch, but as we know, the Pre isn’t the iPhone, and 50,000 units is nothing to scoff at. Still, I have to wonder, will today’s WWDC Keynote have an effect on upcoming sales?

And what of inventory? Many stores report being sold out of the phone. Some go so far as to claim the device is sold out nationwide. If a new iPhone announcement doesn’t kill the Pre, how long will consumers have to wait for the next shipment?

A JP Morgan analyst says they’re coming this week. I hope so, for Palm’s sake.

Source: ZDNet

It’s Palm Pre Launch Day!

Palm Pre Exploded.Happy Palm Pre launch day – no seriously, I know I’ve been a little bit harsh on the phone, and critical of Palm’s strategy going forward here, but everyone should be happy when they get a sweet new gadget. And early impressions do suggest the phone is sweet.

So for you early adopters, palm enthusiasts, technoporn addicts, what have you, Rapid Repair’s got the first look inside your new Pre. From the looks of things, taking apart the Pre is not for the faint of heart, so I hope you have steady hands. With a little persistence, though, you can get down to the pretty internals.

According to the guys at RR, the Pre’s components come in just over $170 – pretty shocking when you consider the out-of-contract prices we’ve seen. Could this mean early price cuts when Verizon and AT&T pick up the phone early next year? Component costs can only go down, right?

For now, a contracted $200 seems much more in line, since you are paying to be on the cutting edge, and those designers and former Apple engineers deserve a decent meal from time to time.

Sprint’s Too Good For Long Lines

Sprint Store.According to Mark Elliot, a spokesperson for Sprint, the company doesn’t want long lines come launch day for the Palm Pre this Saturday. “We’re actually trying to manage the exact opposite,” Mr. Elliott said.

It’s just like any company to spin the low hype generated by what must be terrible exclusivity negotiations into a boon for customer service. Part of Sprint’s new plan for the Pre rollout includes in-store tutorials for every Pre customer. “What we’re trying to do is not have people backed up waiting so customers feel rushed,” Mr. Elliott said. “We want each customer to get the experience.”

I don’t know about you, but I have plenty of fond memories of waiting in long lines to get the newest gadget, game, what have you. The air reeks with anticipation, everyone’s excited to be there knowing they’ll walk out with a new toy in hand. Well, early Pre adopters, you’ll get none of that.

Source: NY Times

The Pre is a Great Phone but the Wrong Phone

the wrong customersThe recently leaked Pre launch guide has set Palm fans atwitter, ready to get their paws on one the minute the phone launches. That is, if Sprint will let them.

In what I find to be the most interesting page (11 if you’re keeping track) of the launch missive, Sprint lays down a heavy warning: “We can’t afford to sell the Pre to the wrong customers.” My knee jerk reaction sounds a lot like “no shit,” especially considering the rumors of a tiny launch stock. But Palm means more than senior citizens and paraplegics. So who is the wrong customer, and why don’t they deserve a Pre?

According to Palm, the wrong customers are the IT business users. The folks who need to run applications. The people with strict mobile device security protocols. A lot of the same people who really want the device. But when those people set foot in a Sprint Store on June 6th, Sprint reps are advised to try to sell them the Treo Pro. This makes sense. Salespeople are there to identify your needs, and then sell you a product to meet or exceed those needs (preferably at atmospheric price points). So why sell you the Pre when it falls short? You should get the phone you need, right?

Right. The Pre isn’t the phone you need. It’s right there in company literature, just mangled and twisted to make it sound like the customer’s wrong, instead of the phone. Make no mistake, though, it’s the phone, and the Pre is going to miss the mark on launch day and probably fade out of existence before long. I’m not talking to you, the individual user who might love Palm’s new features and developer-friendly OS. I’m talking about market share, which is what Palm needs to stay solvent. The Pre was the device to release before Apple sold 20 million iPhones. Before the app store sold a billion apps. Then the Pre could have been Palm’s savior, instead its dying breath.

It’s not that the Pre isn’t a great device. From the hardware to the software, the smooth OS to an overall excellent user experience the Pre is a great device, it’s just the wrong device, and it could be Palm’s last. If the Pre fails to gain significant ground and fast, there’s little hope for a financially stable Palm in the near future.

Best Buy to Get 4 Pres Per Store, Radioshack 2

Predator and prey, or the other way around.Yes, you read that correctly. According to a ‘most-trusty of ninja’ at the Boy Genius Report, Best Buy will only receive 4,250 phones from Palm for the June 6th Pre launch. With an estimated 1,000 stores (estimate from a Best Buy Mobile rep), that’s just four phones per store for launch.

The story doesn’t get much better for other retailers. Radio Shack is only expected to see the Pre at 721 of their stores, each of which are expected to receive two units. The 721 stores fall in the highest expected consumer base for the Pre.

This is looking like terrible news for Palm, and it’s definitely the wrong way to go about generating hype. It makes me wonder what happened. Did they short-order touch screens? Are they worried about network stability? Was this just really poor decision making? Whatever it was, it’s bad, and I’m guessing this will go down as a bad year for Palm.

Best Buy to Bypass Pre Rebate

Best Buy has Palm's best interests in mind.Seems like all the news points to the Pre this week, and probably for good reason. The Pre is Palm’s final hope, but the company has given itself plenty of setbacks. For one, their pricing is set to match the iPhone, but only after a $100 mail-in rebate.

Best Buy is looking to give Palm some help by making the rebate instant, delivering your Pre for $200 out the door. Of course you’ll still have to sign a two-year service agreement, which is pretty much industry standard for receiving a discounted phone. Remember, though, Pre stock is going to be limited at launch, so don’t wait around to get yours.

Source: Brighthand

Sprint: Not Enough Pres For Launch Demand

Palm Pre.According to Sprint CEO Dan Heese, there just won’t be enough Palm Pre’s to meet demand at the device’s launch. Obviously he’s chosen his words carefully, suggesting there’s going to be massive demand for the Pre, or maybe Palm just hasn’t made very many of them. Either way, the company is throwing all of their chips in on this phone, and rightly so. Without it, Palm’s doomed.

I’d like to think the Pre will be successful, but it’s going to be a tough sell. Sure, it looks like a great phone, and a lot of people are excited about it, but who will buy it? Sprint customers are a great place to start, but that means no growth for the wireless provider. The loyal Palm users are another likely demographic, but that doesn’t get a great device in the hands of new users. Your final hope is first-time smartphone users, assuming they can be lured from the iPhone or a Blackberry, both of which are potentially cheaper than the Pre.

Source: Reuters