updated 03:35 pm EDT, Fri June 5, 2009
Palm May Ship 1 3m Pres
Palm could ship as many as 1.3 million Pre phones before the end of the year, according to estimates from iSuppli. The researchers believe that a Sprint-only launch could result in about 1.1 million of the webOS smartphone trading hands in 2009 and could climb slightly to 1.3 million if a version with GSM and HSPA-based 3G arrives this year. It's not known if the sales factor in sales of the Pre through Bell Canada, though it's rumored that O2 UK will have a GSM Pre for the holidays and give Palm at least one more major carrier.
The demand is deemed enough for Palm to claim a "significant share" of smartphones and may even put pressure on it to license webOS to other companies. It could serve as a potential alternative to those phone designers unable to license OS X iPhone but who want a multi-touch interface, senior wireless analyst Tina Teng says. However, Palm itself has said that it so far has no intention of licensing webOS to outsiders and, like Apple, considers its OS a selling point.
Additionally, Palm could potentially spur adption and even shortages of key parts: the TI OMAP processor that gives the Pre its high speed compared to a current iPhone would be "validated" by the Pre, while the higher-quality low-temperature polysilicon LCD that gives the smartphone its bright image is in low enough stock already that it could squeeze out competitors looking to adopt the technology themselves.
Palm's shipments will be just a fraction of that Apple and fellow competitor RIM achieve each quarter but, if meeting the unofficial targets, would represent a major turnaround for the company. Palm sold less than 500,000 phones in one of its most recently reported quarters and has faced increasing reluctance as both PalmOS and Windows Mobile have fallen out of date.