updated 08:25 pm EDT, Sun May 3, 2009
BBuy Palm Pre Jun 7 Rumor
Sprint's own stores may be accompanied by Best Buy for an increasingly corroborated June 7th Palm Pre launch based on a new leak. An insider tells BGR that about 4,500 Palm Pre units will reportedly be shipped to Best Buy Mobile stores that day and will guarantee that every store has at least one unit, with some getting several examples to sell. The reason for the small supply isn't yet clear.
Such an expansion is typical for some of Sprint's past high-profile launches, including the Samsung Instinct, and may be intended as a means of catching up in distribution and exposure to Palm's most immediate competitor, the iPhone. Apple didn't sell the iPhone in third-party retailers until September 2008 and, consequently, is believed to have hurt its potential reach for customers without close access to either an Apple or AT&T store.
Additionally, the same source points to the phone costing the expected $199 on contract needed to challenge the iPhone, though they also indicate that existing customers will be pushed to pay $299. The rumor also has Sprint discouraging customers from buying the phone contract-free by raising that price to $999, or well above even the maximum $699 for a 16GB iPhone under similar terms at AT&T.
The June 7th launch promises to be a critical one for Palm as its finances depend not only on a successful launch but also on undermining the attention surrounding Apple's near-certain iPhone update just two days after the Pre launch, on June 9th at WWDC.