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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).

Sprint Shares Skyrocket 20% on Palm Pre Deal [CNBC]
Sprint Nextel CEO describes firm’s changes [SFGate]

Preonauts are always very exclusive

Posted by Andrew on February 20, 2009 at 04:17 PM

Palm Pre

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by Christian | Feb 20, 2009 7:47:08 PM

Interesting poll data. I wonder how faithful people will be to their votes? I don't have any data to support this, but I remember talking with a large group of my buddies with Verizon service about the iPhone when it came out. The consensus seemed to be that nobody would put up with AT&T just to have the benefits of the iPhone. Needless to say, just about all of them have now picked up Apple's wonder wand. It seems that mostly the business users - Blackberry users - have stayed

Of course, the big difference here is that AT&T had a pretty lengthy period of exclusivity with the iPhone, so AT&T got to benefit from the bandwagon, where Sprint might not be able to stand alone long enough to be the sole provider to the bandwagoneers.

by Crane | Feb 21, 2009 12:47:16 AM

Sprint could have exclusivity on the Pre until 2099, I will never ever switch to that inferior network. Unlocked gsm for me all the way. THe rest of you can sell your souls to the Sprint devil to save a couple of hundred bucks on the device which will cost you more in the end as a result of the everything plan x 24 months plus poor service and customer relations.

by serge ouaknine | Feb 21, 2009 10:22:48 AM

Stuck with Sprint ! Noway !

by Ted | Feb 21, 2009 10:30:38 AM

Actually, Sprint's customer service has been better as of late. I've been a customer since 2000 and have had my ups and downs but they seem to be doing better. There are still dead spots in the network, which I don't understand, but they seem willing to make note of that area if I call it in.
REALLY looking forward to the Pre! I wonder if there will be start-up bugs being a new OS and all.

by JPCahill | Feb 21, 2009 1:30:58 PM

Cell phone carrier choice seems to work like real estate. The important element is location, location, location. I've had Sprint since the '90s and been delighted with the service. (There was an interval where the service was technically through Earthlink. But Earthlink used the Sprint system.) Never a dropped call in any of the areas of California that I've been in. Perhaps the answer to that is that I need to get out and about more. Maybe so, but that's still my experience. Excellent service.

I would sign up the the Pre this afternoon if it were available. All that it does have is very attractive. What it does NOT have is equally attractive: Microsoft. I'm currently using the Treo 800 with the Windows OS. What an annoying, fussy, ill-tempered programme that is. I can hardly wait to be using a Palm produced OS again.



by Car Nut | Feb 23, 2009 9:22:29 AM

My corporate office has too good of an experience overall with Verizon to consider switching. We've been waiting on word about the possibility of a new Palm device with Verion and this confirms that we'll be looking elsewhere. Though we are a traditional large corporate office, the typical Palm/Treo phone via Verizon actually works great for business use (email/calendar/etc. sync is free and instant).

Looks like I'll be purchasing Blackberry phones (Storm and Curve) soon.

I never though I'd see the day where I did not have a Palm and/or Treo (or Pre) option with my carrier. I can't blame my carrier, because only one carrier is being given new Palm products. Too many carriers are left out and thus, too many potential customers.

by Jean | Feb 23, 2009 4:08:30 PM

It looks good, but too bad Sprint is the only one that will have it.

by PalmNut | Feb 24, 2009 6:03:47 AM

Seeking Alpha today posted that sources at Apple have said Verizon and Apple have struck a deal to bring the iPhone to Verizon. This is just a RUMOR, but he did say sources from Apple have said this to him (http://seekingalpha.com/article/122219-will-apple-increase-iphone-value-with-rumored-verizon-deal?source=yahoo)

This was one of my fears of the Pre's release date and exclusiveness with Sprint. If the iPhone gets to Verizon and AT&T before the Pre, Palm faces a tougher battle. I hope this is just a rumor.

by Targon | Feb 24, 2009 6:30:57 AM

I guess I will be getting an unlocked Pre for $400-$500 once one becomes available. The iPhone, for all the hype about what a cool device it is, still seems more like a device for those looking for a new toy to play with, rather than something to meet my business needs.

Palm has the right idea, a device that excels at more than just e-mail, without being focused on those looking for an ultra-mobile computer. The iPhone is a great toy, but I don't feel it is a great tool for those wanting to do business tasks on their phone. The Blackberry devices are great when you want to sync to business e-mails, but doesn't strike me as being great for anything other than e-mail.

The PalmOS based Treo phones were great, except the OS was sluggish and had issues, which is why I REALLY want to see the Pre become available ASAP.

by dgarts | Feb 24, 2009 2:09:03 PM

I'm now using TealOS Launcher http://www.tealpoint.com/softos.htm on my Treo 680 that gives me the card-like active app sort, customizable wavebar navigation and a few other nifty functionalities.

True, it's not really multi-tasking or anything else the webOS offers, it's just a UI.

BUT, I've got it "now", on my GSM 680, only costs $15 AND still supports my desktop, and my SD cards.

I think I'm good for the time being.

by Juan | Feb 24, 2009 5:31:33 PM

Will the new Pre have the option of using a stylus to imput information to the system? Will it be compatible with the Frankil Covey system?

by dgarts | Feb 24, 2009 6:32:54 PM


I have yet to see any demonstration that includes a stylus, and it peeves me no end that Palm has gone to such lengths to distance the Pre from so many of the things OS5 users have had to embrace for so long while Palm got its act together.

No mention of desktop. No expansion capacity (which means, when your Pre is full you either start deleting stuff or you've got to pony up to buy a new one. Sheesh). No mention or sighting of a stylus (how many sketching/drawing tools will go with your finger on the touchscreen?)

I want to see how many current OS5 users will be left out in the cold when it is confirmed that their beloved 3rd party apps with which they've been humming along so nicely these last few years will not be usable in the webOS world.

I am personally getting resigned to stick with my Treo 680 until there are none left.

by John Whorfin | Feb 25, 2009 4:15:30 PM


Sprint is in a tailspin. Last quarter, they lost 1.3 million subscribers and posted a $1.62 billion loss. They were the only major carrier to lose subscribers last quarter, and recently dipped under 50 million subscribers for the first time in years. Even with the "Pre bump", their stock is now trading at about a third of its 52-week high.

In other words, Sprint is the carrier customers are _least_likely_ to switch to or join. Do we really think people are going to swarm to not only pay more for a Pre than an iPhone, but also pay high switching fees to go to Sprint? Really?

Sprint Gets Rating Downgrade

And btw Targon - what "business tasks" do you think you can't do on an iPhone that you think you'll be able to do on the Pre? Name three.

by JP | Apr 6, 2009 10:40:42 PM

why is everyone freaking on Palm Pre, yes there are going to put an awesome phone on a crappy Sprint Network but not to worry, when the Palm Pre comes out i will purchase it with NO Crappy Sprint contract, i will drive to my local Verizon store and ask for my friend who works there and have him put the Palm Pre on Verizon Network.. easy as that so, F-sprint and there exclusive contact..


BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Beginning today, Verizon Wireless customers who want to enjoy the best customer experience in wireless, but don’t want to sign a one- or two-year customer agreement have a month-to-month option. The new Month-to-Month agreement is an extension of the company’s overall commitment to delivering its customers quality products and services over the nation’s most reliable wireless network, while providing the industry’s best customer service.

Verizon Wireless’ new Month-to-Month agreement gives customers the freedom to purchase new devices at full-retail price, or use their own CDMA devices without the commitment of a one- or two-year contract. Additionally customers can terminate their agreement at the end of any month without paying an Early Termination Fee.

The company’s Month-to-Month agreement is now available on all Nationwide Voice and Data plans for both new and current contract customers. Current contract customers must fulfill the terms of their current contract before moving to a Month-to-Month agreement.

Customers who want to sign up for a Verizon Wireless Month-to-Month plan can visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, go online at www.verizonwireless.com or call 1-800-2 JOIN IN.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 68.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 70,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.


The emphasis is mine, but the wording is crystal clear. Buy a CDMA phone, use it on Verizon. It doesn't say "CDMA phones which Verizon has blessed with the magic oil". It's compatible phones, of which the Pre is surely one. So the question still remains: If you get a Pre unlocked, can you use it -- web, data, GPS -- on Verizon or will it be too gimp to be interesting.

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