Like the iPhone, Palm Pre Has Lot of Pre-release Interest


att5c525Hundreds of thousands of people, it seems, are eagerly awaiting to buy the Palm Pre (S PALM), according to data collected by Internet traffic research firm Compete. After a big spike at the time of the launch at CES when 400,000 people checked out the Pre-related information pages on Sprint (S s) and Palm’s site, around 100,000 folks are visiting those pages. In comparison, the iPhone (s aapl) saw about 600,000 shoppers after the Macworld announcement. I am not so optimistic about Palm’s long-terms chances, however, as outlined in this post.



Mark, you make some very valid points but you have to remember that all phones must start from sonewhere. The iPhone didn’t even welcome developers in the early days and look where it is now. Also in terms of features I agree but if you look at the Palm Pre what has grabbed the initial attention is the experience (GUI).

The iPhone didn’t need or have an App store when it was first lanched and still sold in impressive numbers. It is this base on which Apple built. I suspect many here hope that the Palm will have significant success and disprove your belief that “there is an (un)likelihood of them securing meaningful market share when they launch”.

I think it is futile making comparisons with the iPhone or any other phone for that matter. By doing so you usually detract from the attention on the phone being sold.

So in summary the eco system comes second, you first have to generate interest for users and then developers/partners to come to the platform. If Palm sell significant numbers then the developers will see value in building as they have a potential significant revenue stream. I temper the words “significant revenue stream” by the fact that it is well known there is far more hype rather than fact behind the $ created by the App store.

There are figures out there that prove that there are far fewer big $ winniers (i.e. millionaires) than the hype suggests. Most of the $ gains are smaller amounts spread across a very large set of developers and even larger set of software.

Also you have to be aware that many applications being released on the iPhone always grab the headlines but often the story announcing the next iPhone application release also states that the developers are releasing the software for other platforms. “Its all about the headlines”

“While there are segments of the market that only care about price, and segments that specifically care about a core piece of functionality, such as a real keyboard” This underplays the importance of a keyboard for the enterprise.

Even with the significant number of users who have iPhones (including CEO’s etc) most companies do not standardise on the iPhone and whatever platform they do standardise on the most popular form factor is one with a physical keyboard. As good as screen keyboards have become and that is still a significant fact.

The way Apple could scare the living daylights out of everyone is to produce an iPhone with a keyboard. Blackberry and Windows mobile stock would fall through the floor overnight!

“Apple has never been about having the deepest spec list. ”
Agreed but you seem to suggest there is only one type of need and type of user. There are many users with many different behaviours and needs and therefore one device does not fit all those requirements.

“They have been about user experience, integration”
Their integration into the enterprise is woeful and as users use the same device for home and work the iPhone will forever be consigned to the ranks of the enterprise.

The next iPhone release tries to make amends by putting in corporate controls but they are ashamed to call them what they are so they are putting a label on these features “Parental controls”

This will help get the iPhone into more enterprises and I have no doubt they will eventually make headway but the enterprises are more about features and Apple have a long way to go here.

“Unless and until Palm (or someone else) can negotiate that freight train or fundamentally, solve a different problem than Apple with iPhone/iPod touch, I just don’t see the game changing materially.”

As mentioned the freight train will start sans developers, build the device and the user experience and the customers will come, this will bring the developers. It does solve a fundamentally different problem, it bridges the gap between user experience and great design for the retail market and provides the enterprise with a “must have” set of features including among many a PHYSICAL keyboard

As I said earlier the game is over when Apple provide a physical keyboard


Sorry typo
Their integration into the enterprise is woeful and as users use the same device for home and work the iPhone will forever be consigned to the ranks of the RETAIL MARKET.

Usinga Bigradar

The graphic has been changed to remove the dates that showed the interest in Palm was higher BEFORE the Pre was introduced.

Gadget Sleuth

The only thing I think that stops the iPhone from just taking over is AT&T. Their high monthly cost and poor customer services/spotty 3G coverage is a downer for the iPhone…if it were usable with any carrier, the Pre wouldn’t have a chance. I think it will still struggle.


If you are looking to develop games, the iPhone IS a great gaming platform, but if you are looking to develop business apps, then i think the Palm Pre will be the place.


Considering Palm Pre to be true Multitasking mobile OS compared to the iPhone, Palm Pre can be the best platform for both business apps and gaming development.

Fred H Schlegel

This probably shows how much further these devices can go in consumers imagination. (Not to mention a distinct dislike of AT&T.) Competition is good. Hopefully the Pre lives up to it’s hype and that drives Apple and RIM to another level as well. Unfortunately I also agree with your concern about Palm’s long term chances.

Kevin C. Tofel

Alex, I think your point becomes moot with the Pre and other Palm devices after it. There won’t be any new Palm devices running the old Palm OS. They’re all moving to Palm’s webOS, which is built on base web standards. And as of now (that we know of), Palm’s Pre is only one device. ;)


I will agree with Mark. As developers, one has to look at where a solution fits. We are developing a visual marketing platform. The business case tends heavily in favor of the iPhone/iPod family. The numbers suggest that our customers are using such devices. If we move to another platform, will it be Android, Palm, Symbian, or Windows? Very likely it would be Android, though I refrain from making such a decision until Android matures, Palm arrives, and the other two provide me with reasons to develop for their respective platforms.

Apple is a pain. We are waiting over four weeks now for apps. They have three people servicing the labels in iTunes! F-ing three! But, the tools, customers, and sales channel is pretty solid. In order, we need customers, the other platforms have not demonstrated any sales ability. We need tools. Develop for BlackBerry? Thanks anyway. And, the platform has to grow. That leaves out MS and Palm until otherwise stated. Name an app that sells on the iPhone that was created in WebKit that has generated buzz. Facebook is a platform…

Everybody is interested until they pull out the checkbook. Thereafter they are customers. When Palm demonstrates sales, growth, and interest, we will be ready. Until then…


Pre has dedicated websites where folks discuss the features. This phone is on par with iPhone on features plus adds some few more features.
I hope you get your hands on one and I hope you might want to write the goodness of WebOS.

Usinga Bigradar

Uh…the interest in Palm and Sprint was (much) GREATER before the January 9th intro of the Pre?

Doesn’t that sort of destroy the entire theory behind this article?


30,000,000 people don’t miss a mechanical keyboard.

Spotting a Pre in the wild will be finding someone using a Zune.

Mark Sigal

Hi Om,

Let me attempt to reconcile the advance “interest” for Palm Pre with the (un)likelihood of them securing meaningful market share when they launch.

While there are segments of the market that only care about price, and segments that specifically care about a core piece of functionality, such as a real keyboard, I firmly believe that the mobile computing wars, just like the PC wars before them, are going to come down to who builds the broadest, deepest ecosystem of developers.

Why? Customers don’t buy features. They buy outcomes, and app breadth and depth enables a myriad of compelling outcomes, which Apple has provided a clear AHA moment around. They set the bar, and keep moving it higher.

Apple has never been about having the deepest spec list. They have been about user experience, integration and leverage, and the 3.0 developer event earlier this week is just another sign that even while leading BIG TIME in terms of units (30M iPhones + iPod touches), apps (25K apps), engagement (800M downloads) and dollars (App Store is growing into a $1B biz only 9 mos after launch), they are putting pedal to the metal to secure hearts and minds of developers.

Unless and until Palm (or someone else) can negotiate that freight train or fundamentally, solve a different problem than Apple with iPhone/iPod touch, I just don’t see the game changing materially.

Btw, if interested, here is my analysis on Apple’s iPhone 3.0 preview event:

Analysis of iPhone 3.0 SDK Developer Preview

Check it out if interested.



Palm is far, far in the lead when it comes to developers. Apple can only hope to someday reach the development community size of Palm. The Pre is a better product from day 1 even with the long needed advancements of iPhone 3.0.


I was one of them.. but got tired of waiting and got the iphone instead


I am sorry you missed out. You got a toy when you could have gotten a real productivity tool.

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