Palm's highly anticipated new smartphone, the Palm Pre, seems to be on track for an early June launch, according to an analyst from Barclays Capital. Palm has a good deal riding on the success of the Pre as it competes against the Apple iPhone and other smartphones in the rapidly growing mobile and wireless market.
The Palm Pre, the smartphone being touted by some pundits as a potential
"iPhone killer," is apparently on track for launch in early June,
according to an analyst from Barclays Capital. Based on that estimate, Barclays
is raising its sales estimates and targets, although the company cautions that
higher cost expectations could limit the ultimate benefit to long-suffering Palm.
"Expect fairly solid initial demand and additional launches to
potentially begin in [the third quarter], thereby leading our PF annual sales
[estimates] higher to $975m/$1.9b from $818m/$1.4b," Amir Rozwadowski, an
analyst with Barclays Capital, wrote in a May 18 research note.
Rozwadowski suggested that completed "checks" suggested the Pre
launch would occur on schedule, with "additional carrier launches" to
follow in the third quarter. Additional WebOS product launches are also
"anticipated" to emerge after that point, although a lower-cost
device appears unlikely before the first quarter of 2010.
Despite that relatively rosy picture, Rozwadowski said he felt that issues
with some of the company's legacy products, and the increase in costs
associated with the Pre launch, would drag on Palm's potential revenue and
Nextel has exclusive U.S. rights to sell the Palm Pre through the end of 2009,
and plans to offer customers a choice of individual, family and business plans
that start at $69.99 a month. In addition to the much-publicized physical
QWERTY keyboard that slides out the bottom part of the 4.76-ounce unit, and the
3.1-inch touch-screen with 320 by 480 resolution HVGA display, the phone will
also include the Palm WebOS, built-in GPS, a
3-megapixel camera and 8GB of user storage.
Supported audio formats for the device are MP3, AAC,
QCELP and WAV, supported video formats are MPEG-4, H.263 and H.264, and
supported image formats are GIF, JPEG, PNG
Perhaps recognizing the device's make-or-break status with regard to Palm's
future profitability, Palm is taking all steps to ensure that the Pre has a
robust launch, and is encouraging
developers to design applications for the Pre.
Reports suggest that Palm is already working on a smaller
follow-up to the Pre called the Pixie,
which also runs the Palm WebOS, at a
probable $99 price point.
has a good deal riding on the Pre,
given how sales of its older smartphones
have been steadily eroding. In March, reports stated that Palm had remarketed
18.5 million common stock shares, worth roughly $103 million, in order to raise
cash for the Pre's development and marketing. Palm
recently endured its sixth consecutive quarter of losses,
with revenue for
the third quarter of 2009 falling to roughly $90 million.