The Palm Pre was just released on Saturday at $199. Reports seem to be consistently saying that Palm was successful in selling the quantities that they wanted over the weekend. The Palm Pre looks like a great device with lots of potential for techy consumers that want some thing new and something non-Apple, Blackberry, etc.
The biggest question for Palm is whether they'll be able to continue selling their device. Today at the big Apple Keynote for the WWDC, Apple made this question even bigger. Apple has officially announced a new device, the Apple iPhone 3GS with a superior camera and a few great new features at $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB. What's more potentially disastrous for Palm is that they also announced that the old iPhone 3G 8GB will continue to be sold and is now priced at $99. That price is the same as several phones that are nowhere near as good as the iPhone and $100 less than the Palm Pre.
These two announcements quickly took over the "Trending Topics" on Twitter.com and flooded all the tech blogs quickly. The biggest question for Palm will be if they can regain the hype online around their phone and whether they'll do anything to counteract this challenge or if they feel their phone speaks for itself at it's current price and with it's current marketing. I don't know any non-tech friends that know a thing about the Palm Pre and I'm concerned that they haven't made it desired enough. I think the competition is great and I don't think Apple's news will kill Palm (or others for that matter), but it does present even more challenges for other phone manufacturers as Apple continues to add to their feature sets.
The Palm Pre was just announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) yesterday and there's already been a flood of discussion about the product on the web. This is Palm's long awaited answer to the iPhone and they were committed to not just getting a product out as soon as possible, but trying to build a better product. Now as the market has already been flooded with iPhone look-a-likes, only time will tell if Palm's Pre will pay off.
Palm's stock jumped yesterday and even more today in response to the phone and possibly an upgrade or two, but there's still no date that we can expect to actually have the device and it appears that we'll have to join up with Sprint to have one. I have yet to see pricing information on the product, but most expect it to sell for no less than $200. The iPhone really changed the market of higher end phones with a full touch screen device, but it also frustrated high end smart phone enthusiasts that wanted a real keyboard and multitasking abilities. A 16GB iPhone 3G is currently priced at $299 while the 8GB is $199. Palm's CEO, Ed Colligan, firmly said "Why would we do that when we have a significantly better product?" to the question of pricing it for less than an iPhone.
Engadget.com provided some of the most comprehensive coverage of this product announcement that I could find. You can see a video here of the product in action and there's several photos here with updates of the actual announcement. Videos of the actual conference are available here.
The biggest concern I have is that there really isn't much new about the device that isn't already being done on the iPhone or a competitive device. Also, with so many people signing a 2 year contract to get their iPhone 3G's recently, I don't see that there's going to be a huge adoption rate. If only this device had been announced a little sooner. There will be a number of people that had refused to switch to the iPhone and found the first go at a gPhone disturbing and will find the Palm Pre to be refined. Afterall, it is. The Pre is one of the best phones I've seened demoed since the iPhone, but I tend to think the iPhone could have a software update that would fix it's problems.
The response to the Palm Pre has been huge online and the majority of bloggers and commenters appear to love the device. I haven't seen it in the wild yet and have yet to demo a unit myself, but I'm not getting as sucked into the hype. I really like the looked of the Pre, but I won't switch from the iPhone to it. There's really just not enough of a change to make me do so. The iPhone does everything I need it to do and is good enough for now. I don't have the spare change lying around to throw at another device and another service plan... If the Pre continues to seem just as good when it officially launches, I'll take a second look. The iPhone has one other huge advantage as well. The development community has already attached to this product and there's tons of games and fun/useful apps. This is where technology can never beat out software. And when you've got ease of use and software, you've got a success. Look at the Wii. Look at the Dreamcast and how it failed even though it had amazing hardware. I'll wait and see with the Palm Pre and believe me -- I'm anxious to see it, but I'm not 100% buying into it right now.
Update: Joshua from Engadget was recently on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and his discussion about the Palm Pre really startd to sway me.. Amazing... Here's the video from the show: