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Strong competitors to Pre lurking around the corner

Rédigé par Annie Latham le Mercredi 17 Juin 2009

The competition lurking around the cornerIt's been over a week since the Palm Pre was released into the world and Apple announced the iPhone 3G S, which will start shipping this week. Add in the iPhone 3.0 update due any minute now (check out the excellent iPhone 3.0 overview at TiPb) and the Pre really has its work cut out for it.

Not standing on the sidelines is Research in Motion, with the unveiling of it's BlackBerry Tour 9630 smartphone. So far, the guestimate of the number of Palm Pre smartphones sold has bounced around.

As we've already noted here and also in a Reuters story by Franklin Paul, current estimates on Pre sales hover around 100,000.   "Most analysts, citing their own data, said the company shipped some 50,000 units for the weekend of the Pre's debut on June 6. Another 50,000 units followed soon after." The story also quoted Pacific Crest Securities analyst James Faucette:

"We believe that between 90,000 units and 100,000 units were sold in the first week," he said. "Given the high number of people still on waiting lists ... the company appears to be on track to exceed our previous August quarter unit shipment estimate of 500,000."

David Eller, analyst at JRPG, a boutique securities firm, said Palm sold 84,000 Pre phones in the first weekend, with some 35 percent going to new customers for Sprint. We should get a better read when Palm announces earnings a week from Thursday (Q4FY09 Results 06/25/2009 1:30 PM PT).

Palm's opening weekend kind of reminds me of box office comparisons. The Pre opened strongly, but with the new iPhone opening this weekend and the BlackBerry Tour coming soon (and the Storm 2 also on the way), not to mention the Nokia phones that sell absurdly well outside the US, how long can the Pre hold onto mindshare?

The constraint in supply is troublesome. During a trip to my local Best Buy this weekend, when I asked how long the wait list was for the Pre, I was laughed at. And when I spoke to Sprint, I was given a very vague answer about supply which left me feeling that I wouldn't see one until mid to late July. IMHO, the next allotment of the Palm Pre needs to get here soon before the momentum of its opening is lost.

Satchel Paige's famous quote, "Don't look back, someone may be gaining on you," fits here. Any daylight/gap that Palm may have can be closed quickly by competitors with more resources and a larger installed customer base.

By the way, Paul noted that shares of Palm climbed on Tuesday to their highest level since October 2007, rising 3.2 percent in afternoon trade to close at $14.57, after hitting a session high of $15.25.

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Tags : palm, pré

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