Palm Pre Sprint Exclusive For 2009
Sprint Palm Pre Only Show In Town Until End 2009
Citing an unnamed sourced, CNBC yesterday confirmed that Sprint Nextel is set to be the exclusive US carrier of the Palm Pre smartphone throughout 2009. This promptly helped Sprint shares leap more than 25% as investors seemed to clearly be hoping that the Palm Pre will have the same positive effect on Sprint as the iPhone has had for AT&T and the recently released BlackBerry Storm for Verizon (see Palm Pre vs. iPhone Comparison).
As Sprint CEO Dan Hesse recently pointed out in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle following a question about how important the Palm Pre is to Sprint and how he see this smartphone competing in the market:
“In today's market, iconic devices, no question, they move the needle, they grab attention. And we're very excited about the Palm Pre. I will give (BlackBerry manufacturer) Research In Motion credit for creating a great business phone and the iPhone, I give it credit for being a great consumer device. This is the first one I believe that really crosses both. It's an outstanding business device and it's also a whole life consumer device. It's a combination of a superb touch screen with a physical keypad, which is, for a heavy e-mailer and texter, a must. We think it's going to be a very successful device.”
This Palm Pre exclusivity for the whole of 2009 means that Sprint will have 6 to 7 months (based on a May/June launch timeframe) to make a huge marketing push and acquire new subscribers. Based on our recent poll (1000 votes so far) it would appear that the group currently most interested to get a Sprint Pre are existing Sprint subscribers (44% of responses) while 18% of subscribers with other carriers (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) said that they would switch to Sprint as soon as the Pre becomes available.
Since a rather significant 25% of respondents stated a preference for a GSM version of the Palm Pre it’s clear that the other important question becomes which (if any) US carriers will begin to offer the Pre once Sprint’s exclusivity runs out. A GSM Pre model for AT&T naturally ranks the highest and the hope is that one will become available by January 2010 followed a few months later by a Verizon Pre.
At the same time, some 18% of respondents not currently with Sprint indicated a willingness to buy a more expensive (unsubsidized) Unlocked GSM version of the Palm Pre (for use with GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile). In this respect, although Palm has hinted that the US launch of the Sprint Palm Pre will be closely followed by the European launch of a GSM Palm Pre (rumours point to Vodafone as the carrier of choice) we can only hope that Palm will also shortly thereafter release an Unlocked GSM Palm Pre in the US (perhaps around July/August).
Preonauts are always very exclusive…