Krishna Baidya’s Random Musings

Will “Pre” bring new lease of life for Palm?

Posted on: May 5, 2009

palm_pre1Palm is expected to launch (through Sprint Nextel) its “Pre” smartphone before June in a market which is already seen flurry of choices.Features boasted by “Pre” put it in direct competition to Apple’s iPhone, Research In Motion’s Storm, HTC’s G1 and Touch series, Samsung’s Omnia and Nokia’s latest 5800 etc.

Question to ask is “do consumer need another choice in this segment”? Many analysts off late have linked Palm’s survival to success/ failure of “Pre”. What is going to be the killer feature that going to make “Pre” a wanted device? Will a multitouch screen (iPhone is the only other who offers true multitouch) in combination with Palm’s innovative webOS operating system packs enough punch for the mass? I strongly feel that Palm is just too late in the segment and has missed the boat.

In a recently published analysis, isuppli estimated that it would cost Palm about $170 to make each Pre. How does it fare against iPhone & G1? This undercuts the iPhone, at $174, and even the G1, at a modest $144. Target price, as suggested by the report, to Sprint is likely to be US$300. Which is likely to be translated in to consumer spending of about US$200 (after operator’s subsidy) for the device.

Will someone spend that moeny in this recession (when the focus is more on basic necessity) to get their hands on (more or-less) just another 3G, multitouch, Wi-Fi-enabled phone, released almost a year after its closest equivalent?

Well, I’m not very convinced. At leaset not at the moment.

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