Analyst: Palm Pre Could Be iPhone Competitor


With the rollout date for the Palm Pre officially set for 6 June, along with its $199 (£127) price point, all that’s left to wonder now is if the Pre smartphone will actually be a true competitor to the Apple iPhone

With the stage now set for the Palm Pre — which will hit stores on 6 June — all that’s left to wonder about is whether the Pre can meet the high expectations set for it.

Will it be an iPhone killer? Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Gartner, suggests there are still factors at play that will determine this.

“From a user interface point of view, the Pre is the closest thing we have seen to an iPhone. However, the iPhone’s success goes way beyond user interface and is the combination of the ecosystem and the UI that makes the iPhone what it is,” Milanesi told eWEEK.

“We will have to see if Palm can strengthen its developer community fast enough to offer a similar experience.”

While some analysts have pointed to the pricing of the Pre as a possible hindrance to adoption, as well as its presence on the Sprint network, Milanesi says the $200 price point is the right one considering the device’s specifications.

“The other side,” Milanesi adds, “will be the monthly plan charge, as consumers, pushed by the economy, have started to look at total cost of ownership.”

As for industry criticisms of the Sprint network, Milanesi points out that AT&T was criticised when it was chosen to offer the 3G iPhone.

“If I think about coverage in the U.S., and compare it to Europe, everybody could improve in performance,” says Milanesi. “As far as Palm going with Sprint, the reality is that there was no other choice.”

Finally, there has been a question of how long Palm will be able to sustain attention around the Pre, once Apple releases its new iPhone — possibly as early as 8 June, with the kickoff of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Could applause for the Pre become lost in the roar of excitement over a new iPhone?

“Last year, Samsung announced the Omnia on the same day as the iPhone 3G and nobody noticed [the Omnia]. I suppose waiting would not have made much difference, as the noise around the new iPhone would go on for a while,” Milanesi said.

“Announcing anything in June would be difficult. Might as well try and go early,” she said.

Click to read the authors bio  Click to hide the authors bio