updated 10:45 pm EDT, Sun April 12, 2009
Palm Pre Shipping May Leak
Palm and Sprint are poised to undercut Apple by launching the Pre a month or more earlier, as long as a leak of internal Sprint communications proves accurate. According to PhoneNews, the carrier has ordered a rare mid-year vacation freeze for May that touches on staff at retail and other public-facing positions, similar to AT&T's policies during its iPhone releases. The move would let Palm start shipping Pre units to Sprint stores late this month with the aim of a May 17th launch if enough phones are in stock across the US.
As a contingency, Sprint would push the launch back to June 29th -- symbolically, the 2-year anniversary of the iPhone's launch -- if there isn't enough supply for the Pre for the mid-May introduction.
The schedule corroborates a rumor that Sprint employees will start training in April and that Palm will successfully meet its well-known goal of launching the Pre ahead of the next iPhone. Struggling financially, the smartphone creator will virtually depend on the success of the full-touchscreen device to remain in business and is eager to avoid having its early publicity undermined by a new iPhone release. The Pre is one of the few smartphones seeing a climb in demand for the next few months.