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Summary:

The June 6 launch of the Palm Pre is getting closer, and the buzz is beginning to crescendo. Information about said launch is appearing all the time, so here’s an attempt to lump everything we know together. The launch is June 6, which is a Saturday […]

palm-pre-on-chargerThe June 6 launch of the Palm Pre is getting closer, and the buzz is beginning to crescendo. Information about said launch is appearing all the time, so here’s an attempt to lump everything we know together.

The launch is June 6, which is a Saturday morning. This makes sense, as it’s easier for consumers to get to the outlets that will be selling the Pre.

Sprint and Palm will be selling the Pre, and it will also be sold at Radio Shack, Best Buy and selected Wal-Mart stores. The key may be that “selected” part if Wal-Mart is your store of choice. It sounds like not all Wal-Marts may have the Pre in stock.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse is already stating that the company expects shortages of available stock at launch. This may either be a case of marketing, where they are trying to get folks to line up for show, or they may really not have enough stock to meet the expected high demand. If the latter is the case, then Palm is foolish to also offer them at the retail outlets. Nothing will upset anxious customers more than failing to get a new Pre at a Sprint store while their buddy snagged one at Best Buy. If you are planning to queue up at your local Sprint store be aware that they may be opening up early at 8 am to handle the hoped for lines.

UPDATE: sources who supposedly know these things are now reporting that Best Buy stores will have four devices each and Radio Shacks only two. Ouch.

Best Buy has stated that the $100 rebate for the Pre purchase will be honored at the cash register. Customers who choose to buy a Pre there will, thus, only have to pony up $199, while those purchasing elsewhere will have to fork over $299 and wait a good while to get the $100 mail-in rebate back. Wal-Mart usually honors rebates at the register, too, but it has not officially stated it will in this case. It would seem that Palm and Sprint would also drop the rebate business with a retail partner going that route, but no go.

The Touchstone wireless charger for the Pre will likely only be available at Palm and Sprint. If there is indeed low supply of the phones and accessories, it would not make sense for the two partners to supply inventory for the outside retailers. If this is the case, then expect Palm and Sprint to reserve their limited supply of Touchstones for their own customers at purchase time. The charger is $69 and looks to be a very high-demand accessory for the Pre.

  1. James, do you know if the Pre is going to be available via the Sprint online store as well? I was looking to switch off of AT&T, and I figure a number port would be easier to do online.

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    1. I haven’t seen Sprint verify that but would be surprised if you couldn’t do it online. Palm surely will be selling them online.

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  2. “The charger is $69″

    Actually, the charger is only $49. It does, however, require the special back cover for the Pre, which is $19. On launch day, folks will clearly get both for $69, but in the future if you break either the cover or the charger, you can get them separately.

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    1. Good point. I was thinking of launch day purchasing. :)

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  3. James,

    I’ve been following your coverage of the Viliv S5 and of the upcoming Pre. My mobile options currently include a Fujitsu T2010 12″ tablet PC (mostly for work), a Samsung NC10 netbook, and a Blackberry Curve. I’m looking for a better handheld browser exprerience, as the Curve, in my view, leaves a lot to be desired. My question is this: why would I need both a Pre and an S5 (other than the obvious fun of just having a bunch of gadgets)? I know the screen on the S5 is a bit bigger, and it runs a full XP OS, but the browser on the pre, from what I’ve seen, looks pretty darn good. If what I want out of a handheld is email, a good browser, and occasional video watching, doesn’t the Pre seem like it would do the trick?

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    1. On the surface it seems that way but until having one in the hand for a while I can’t say for sure. Yet.

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  4. I am tempted to get one from a BestBuy just to try it out. I have never had good luck with Sprint (particularly in buildings and I tried them out twice) but I wants some hands-on time with the Pre.

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  5. Sprint is having special deal on the Pre for new activations only and “pre”order online. It is $99.99 + a free Touchstone charger and battery door.

    http://rx.sprintshops.com/phones.aspx

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    1. I prepreordered!!! They have this twitter, too. http://twitter.com/theNOWintheKNOW

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    2. Umm, this is not Sprint and is most likely not legitimate. There is no way that this deal can beat Sprint’s considering Sprint is not even selling these yet.

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  6. That so-called source that said Bestbuy is only getting 4 Pre’s is bogus, BGR put out that information. Today Sprint reps from Corporate have said, “it is a lie.” There will be plenty stock available.

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    1. That flies in the face of what CEO Hesse said. He expects shortages due to low production.

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    2. It’s called creating demand, it’s smart marketing. It’s like a girl playing hard to get, she gives the impression she is not interested in the guy. It’s up to the guy to play the game, if he doesn’t, he loses out. Hesse is giving the impression the Pre will be hard to get. On a side note, Sprint Corporate are aware of the rumor “4 units to each Bestbuy”, a rep said to me, “totally not true.”

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  7. The Pre is looking more and more DOA every day.

    1) Shortages on release, which, although they are trying to put a brave face on this by saying they want it to seem scarce so it seems like there is great demand (yeah, right), likely indicate that they are having production/design/reliability problems, and the lack of availability for pre-release review units, along with the lack of unsupervised demos support the likelihood of this being the case.

    2) There is currently no SDK for the Pre. Some might argue that it just hasn’t been released yet, but if it isn’t generally in the hands of developers, it is essentially vaporware. One might argue that the iPhone had no SDK on it’s initial release, but the difference is that there was no iPhone/App Store for it to compete against. Users will not be happy to find that there aren’t really any Apps for the Pre and won’t be for quite a while. (Not to mention Palm’s existing credibility problems with developers.)

    Clearly they are just rushing the Pre to market, trying to get it out before the company folds completely and the next iPhone and Android phones are released. Microsoft can sometimes get away with this kind of strategy, but I doubt Palm can get away with it. None of these things bode well for the Pre or Palm.

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    1. 1) You obviously understand noting about marketing and demand.

      2) There will be app’s that matter, available on the Pre at launch, not your average redundant iphone app. Speaking of which, due to webOS over 3500 iphone apps can be ported over to the Pre. Not to mention, Classic app emulator which will launch on the Pre allows the user to run PalmOS app’s. Last I checked there are over 50,000 PalmOS apps. Saying Palm has no credibility with developers is BS. Stop making up rumors.

      The Pre is hardly rushed, webOS went into development over 2 years ago under the code name NOVA, the Pre went into testing last December. It was announced in Jan this year, and is launching almost 6 months later. How in the hell is that rushed?

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    2. Yes, those old PalmOS apps will really show off webOS’s capabilities. Citing those is sort of like IBM’s claim regarding all the apps available for OS/2, if you counted the DOS and Windows apps that would, sort of, run on it. The lack of an SDK at this point in the game is somewhat remarkable, unless the APIs are still not complete.

      And, the length of time it has been in development says nothing about how ready webOS and the Pre are, or will be, for release. Sorry, but it smells like they are really scrambling to get this out the door.

      I may know nothing about marketing and demand — although I don’t really see how that’s relevant to the issues I pointed out — but I do know something about software and product development, and, while they may prove me wrong, the signs are not good.

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    3. Why do you choose to be ignorant?… Many of PalmOS app’s are new. Here is a little taste of what’s to come: http://www.engadget.com/2009/05/22/slingplayer-coming-to-pre-at-or-near-launch/ Guess what?? Those “webOS” app’s are free, can’t say the same for the iphone. My comments relating to marketing and demand are absolutely relevant. If you (in general) intend on purchasing the Pre, and you just gotta have it right away at all cost because you truly believe there is a shortage, you’re a bought sucker.

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  8. How does this phone compare to my Pearl 8100 or the Iphone, I am in the market for a new phone and possibly a new carrier. Any thoughts?

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