Palm Pre Release Date Update
Sprint CEO Reiterates Planned Palm Pre Release Date First Half (by June) 2009
Although hopeful rumours that the next generation Palm Pre smartphone might be released as early as April (see Palm Pre Release Date) continue to float around the fact is nonetheless that the official ETA is still thought to be “around June”.
In a recent interview with RCR Wireless, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse nonetheless provided us with a little bit more information:
RCR: Speaking of handset selection, let’s talk about the Palm Pre. How long will Sprint Nextel have exclusivity on the new device?
Hesse: We haven’t commented on how long the exclusivity period lasts. Palm and Sprint have agreed that we won’t comment on that.
RCR: Is there a scheduled release date?
Hesse: We haven’t announced that. The plan of both companies is to have [Palm Pre] on the market in the first half of the year. Obviously when you’re bringing out a new device with this level of sophistication and functionality there’s a lot of work required.
The guys at Palm are working 24/7 and we’re working 24/7 to bring it out as soon as we can, but we’re not going to bring it out until we’re really confident that the launch is going to be really successful in terms of how it operates. Of course to be able to produce the devices we want to make sure that there’s enough. Clearly it’s going to be a device that’s going to be in high demand and it is going to be in shortage no matter when we launch it, but we don’t want it to be too early where there’s only a handful of Pres in the whole country.
We want to make sure that we can also have production ramped up at a reasonable level before we launch the product. There are a lot of variables that go into when we’re going to launch it. But both Sprint and Palm are very focused on launching as soon as we can and our target is to launch in the first half. There are also no price details yet.
Reading between the lines of Hesse’s replies I am thinking about:
- Exclusivity: although we had rumours that the Palm Pre is a Sprint exclusive for the whole of 2009 (about six full months after launch) it’s evident that Sprint has no incentive to let people know when they might or might not be able to find the Pre on another carrier.
- Intentions vs. reality: the Palm Pre is not ready for prime time _right now_ but the intention is to have it ready by June. The reality is that some things “might” still go wrong with that plan thus pushing the launch date.
- 24/7 Work: it’s clear that both Palm and Sprint have a LOT riding on the Pre and that they want and need a flawless execution.
- Demand: few doubt that the Palm Pre is the hottest new smartphone due in 2009 and given the level of excitement that it has already garnered Palm must be preparing production of a few million units to meet demand – something else that “may” delay its launch.
I _really_ hope that both Palm and Sprint will nonetheless be able to deliver the Pre to us without any delays but I have to admit that the recurring delay in the launch of the Treo Pro gives me pause for concern…
Dan Hesse Q&A [RCR Wireless]
Preonauts want their Sprint Palm Pre ASAP…