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 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.