Opening Weekend: iPhone vs. Pre vs. Droid

After heavy promotion, including a little negative advertising, Verizon launched the Droid over the weekend, and two days later the first sales estimates are in: 100,000.

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Speaking with Bloomberg, Analyst Mark McKechnie of Broadpoint AmTech thinks that’s pretty good. Noting that Verizon had 200,000 Droids on the shelves for launch, he said most stores sold at least half their inventory.

“I see the first few days as encouraging,” McKechnie said. “There seems to be pretty good demand — they’ve taken the right steps and picked a good partner with Google on the Android side.”

While that may be true, comparing the Droid to the iPhone and the Palm Pre during their launch weekends paints a different picture…or chart.

According to Apple, both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS sold more than a million units during their first weekend. Some might argue that’s an unfair comparison, in that both iPhones were available in multiple countries. Both also benefited from the App Store, though that was far more of an advantage for the 3GS. When the iPhone 3G went on sale, there were only 500 apps available, compared to more than 10,000 for the Droid now.

Still, a more fair comparison might be found with the original iPhone, as it too was sold in the U.S. on a single network. However, it should also be pointed out that Verizon has more customers than AT&T, and that the original iPhone was not a 3G device, and that the 8GB model cost $599.

Nonetheless, Verizon’s 100,000 Droids looks pretty good next to Apple’s 270,000 iPhones, except for one thing. That number does not include Sunday sales, which fell on July 1 and were part of a new quarter. It’s very possible Apple sold as many as 400,000 iPhones during that first weekend of lines around the block.

Of course, lines aren’t everything. As Verizon spokesperson David Samberg said to CNET regarding Friday’s Droid launch, “long lines forming outside are flashy,” but the goal is a “a steady stream of people” over days and weeks. Perhaps the Droid would be better compared to Palm’s smartphone, which is estimated to have sold around 50,000 units during its launch weekend.

It’s looks like Verizon may have a “Pre killer” in the Droid.

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