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Palm Pre selling "Considerably higher than Estimates" according to NY Times


Palm Pre selling "Considerably higher than Estimates" according to NY Times

A Skeptic Sees Strong Sales of Palm's PreBy Matt Richtel

Edward Snyder, a cell phone industry analyst with Charter Equity Research, often plays the role of cautious pessimist. For instance, he questions whether smartphones or data services will catch on as much as carriers hope, and he unreservedly criticizes what he characterizes as their underperforming cellular networks.

So the report he issued Monday bears notice. Mr. Snyder said that his sources in the manufacturing and retail channels indicated that Palm had sold 300,000 phones - considerably higher than some estimates by analysts - and that the company was struggling to keep up with demand. Mr. Snyder estimates that the company now is producing 15,000 units a day and will ship one million phones to Sprint in the first full quarter of production.

Mr. Snyder wrote in his report that he believes Palm will rapidly seek to expand its market - despite the exclusive contract it struck with Sprint for the Pre. Mr. Snyder notes that the deal doesn't preclude Palm from selling other devices that are built around the Pre's underlying operating system WebOS to competing carriers. Mr. Snyder predicts Verizon will sell a WebOS device built by Palm in early 2010 and AT&T will introduce one shortly thereafter.

But would AT&T introduce a device that could be seen as competing with the iPhone? Complicated question. So far, Palm's marketers have sought to position the Pre not as an iPhone Killer but as a device that can succeed without taking on Apple's iconic device head-on.

And yet a new print advertisement by Sprint suggests that the carrier has a different marketing vision. In the full-page ad, which appeared in Monday's New York Times, a shiny new Pre leans on an Apple core. Says the ad: "Your iPhone contract is up. Perfect timing. The Palm Pre does things the iPhone can't."

The summertime battle of the cellphones is on.

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