Analysts deem Palm launch a success; Pre inventory replenishment eyed

Analysts deem Palm launch a success; Pre inventory replenishment eyed

Summary: Updated: Analysts called the Palm Pre launch a success, but supplies were tight.Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Walkley deemed the initial Pre sales "solid.


Updated: Analysts called the Palm Pre launch a success, but supplies were tight.

Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Walkley deemed the initial Pre sales "solid." And J.P. Morgan analyst Paul Coster reckoned that most Sprint stores he called were sold out. Some reps claimed that the Pre was sold out nationwide. The rub: Stores didn't carry many Pre devices at launch.

CNet News' Maggie Reardon reported that Sprint's flagship Manhattan store had 200 units to launch. A Best Buy at 23rd Street in New York had 40 to 48 phones. Bloomberg put Sprint's Mission Street store in San Francisco with an inventory of 60 phones. Chicago stores carried 30 to 50 Pres.

Gallery: Here's what's inside the Palm Pre

Coster said some Sprint stores expected more Palm Pres to arrive this week, but most reps were unclear. Coster wrote in a research note:

Most Sprint representatives were unclear on when additional Pre units would be delivered, and in what quantity. Some suggested that new units would be delivered this week, with answers ranging from Tuesday (Boston) to Thursday (Los Angeles).

Add it up and the Palm launch was about as expected:

We conclude that the launch of the Palm Pre has probably been successful. Sales in the first two days probably exceed 50,000, which aligns with our expectations, but sales are very probably short of the 146,000 reported for the first generation Apple iPhone, owing to capacity constraints in manufacturing (or imposed by PALM’s balance sheet). We believe the 'soft launch' is probably proceeding to plan. To be reassured, we need to see Sprint channel inventory replenished this week.

Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt said:

At least from our point of view, the Pre launch was a success, although supply was clearly limited. We believe a good estimation of Pres sold over the weekend is in the 100k-150k range, but sales probably could have been 2x this with enough supply. As a point of reference, the iPhone 3G sold nearly 1 million in its first weekend with ample supply. We expect supply of Pres to hit Sprint stores this week and for distribution to be more or less fully stocked with inventory by July/August. For the August quarter, we have assumed sell through of 500k Pres and sell-in of 650k, both of which look very reasonable after the first weekend. The next few weeks will be crucial for Palm, as any shortcomings with the OS, if there are any, would be brough to light.

Once Palm rebuilds that Pre inventory we'll get a better picture for ongoing demand.

Walkley wrote:

By Sunday, our checks indicated the majority of stores had sold out of initial quantities. Overall, we believe sales were slightly less than our initial expectations of 150-200k units selling over the weekend.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Banking, Mobility, Telcos

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  • Sprint Stores

    I was one of the lucky people to pick up a Pre early Saturday morning.
    The customer service I got from the staff at the Sprint store has to be one of the best experiences I?ve ever had from a business. (In case you want to know the store, it was in Amherst, NY).

    The sales rep was very informative and made sure we got the best plan with the best price for our family account.

    I had to drag the whole family with me because we had to leave immediately after for funeral service. Our 1 year old started, well, being a 1 year old so my wife decided she would take her out to our car. The only problem was we had carried in quite a bit of things that required my help, not to mention our 3 year old.
    Now some of you might think they just wanted to get our kids out of there, but we have a 6th sense about when our kids are going to start the whole ?kid? thing, so this wasn?t the case.

    The store manager, who was also near us and explaining many other aspects of the Pre, offered to help my wife while I finished the last few details. She helped carry out our baby seat, and helped get our 3 year old into the car. How is that for service!

    As for my new Pre, I spent the remainder of the day exploring all the things it could do.

    I am extremely pleased with both the Pre and Sprint.
    • My New Palm Pre @ the Sprint Store

      The Sprint store I visited on Saturday morning opened at 8:00 AM. They normally open at 10:00 so most people had not shown up yet. I walked in 10 minutes after they opened and had about a 30 minute wait. This store had already reserved my new Pre for me and had sold me the Touchstone and car adapter over the phone earlier in the week.
      Other than not being able to get my Palm 755p programs on my Pre I love this new phone. The Pre is actually more than I expected.
      Open email for the first time, type in your email address and password and you are ready to go. Click the link Palm emails and all my contacts are on the phone (I use Outlook).
      The Pre has so many features I could go on all day. I like the camera and the built in flash.
      I like how it gets my email every 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour, or 6 hours (depending on how I set it up).
      I love the GPS feature and how when I am working in a Mall it gives me every store's telephone number.
      I have been working for 2 days so I know I haven't stumbled across everything this phone does but I don't need a 30 day trial. This baby is a keeper!
      As many other reviewers have stated the Pre Apps Store is lacking but I am sure in a few days, weeks, months it too will rock.
    • Agree; Sprint C/S takes quantum leap forward

      I've been a Sprint customer for 12 years.

      Customer service has had me wanting to leave
      most of those 12 years, but I feared the grass
      would not be much greener on the other side,
      and Sprint has always had great value and a
      solid network, especially compared to AT&T.

      I expect both Sprint & Palm's stock to dip for
      a while based on the less than overwhelming
      reception (albeit very solid).

      Wall Street is more interested in home runs now
      than long-term growth, and with this device and
      experience, Palm & Sprint both still have
      nowhere to go but up from here.

      Customer service was top notch, the Phone is
      immaculate (if a only a bit undersupported; get
      with it Sling & Adobe), and the network/plans
      will gradually win over iPhone users who will
      never forgive/forget the days they spent the
      extra $20/monthly for text messaging.

      It isn't the home run Wall Street was hoping
      for, but future is bright for both Palm &
      Sprint with this "uneventful" launch.

      Now if only Adobe can get flash working on this
      thing before the end of the baseball
      season, life will be good.
  • Next month sales should be interesting

    If some people were turned away because stores had run out
    of Pre's, it will be interesting to see if those same people end
    up buying a Pre or a new, improved, and (maybe) lower cost

    I think a good indicator of the Pre's success will be what
    happens when it goes head to head with the latest iPhone
    hardware and software.
    • uh huh

      its going head to head with iPhone right now. I don't think the majority of iPhone buyers are waiting for some new version. It's a fully functional phone, already.

      I think its good, that at least on the first day, that the buzz turn into OK sales for Palm. They needed at least that, now, to see how sustained demand looks.
  • What about the Samsung Omnia

    It looks just like an iphone almost, and the palm too
  • RE: Analysts deem Palm launch a success; Pre inventory replenishment eyed

    My family is rather disappointed with how Sprint handled it so far, we signed up on the Sprint site to as they stated "reserve your new Pre". Ok, now it's out, never heard anything from sprint about our "reservation" after the initial confirmation.

    Went to the local Sprint store and of course they are out. There are 60 people before us on the waiting list. They don't know how many are comming in their restock later this week.

    Why do you have people sign up online and then do nothing other than collect a list of names?
    • My thoughts on this

      Reservations usually require a monetary amount to "guarantee" you a copy. If you did not put any money down on your reservation then you were placed in the same pool as anyone else. Think of it like how GameStop works. They have you reserve a game for $5. This guarantees you a copy of the game to be in the store on launch. I worked for GameStop and had to turn people away that did not reserve a game in this fashion because we ran out of non-reserved copies. So back to the moral of my story...If you did not use any money to reserve a Pre than you are in the same boat as myself that did not online reserve a copy of the Pre.
    • Pre on Sprint site?

      I never saw the Pre mentioned on Sprint's site, and even commented about it on Twitter (and was never corrected). Where the heck did you see a chance to sign up? Or perhaps it was something regionalized, you gave your zip code first? I admit I didn't go hunting (I'm not that eager and I had other things to do), maybe they weren't planning to deliver any to my local hole-in-the-wall Sprint store.

      I don't think Sprint expects to steal iPhone customers from ATT, but to keep Sprint customers and perhaps get ATT and Verizon customers who want an iPhone cheaper. (Sprint's plans are a little cheaper, especially on what ATT requires for the iPhone)

      Competition is always good.
      big red one
  • RE: Analysts deem Palm launch a success; Pre inventory replenishment eyed

    I was lucky enough to get one Saturday too. I have had Palm devices before and also Windows Mobile. The Pre wins hands down! It is an impressive piece of engineering. Easy, simple, fast, and very intuitive. Bluetooth headsets work perfectly, Wi-Fi is blazing fast, and browsing is a pleasant experience. GPS works flawlessly too.

    I think it is head nad shoulders above Win Mobile. I plan to get another one to replace an HTC touch pro with Win Mobile. Palm has hit a home run. Customer experience at Sprint was flawless.
  • welcome again, Palm

    I am happy that Palm got again a great chance to share
    this market. It's a good company and they lost it when
    ipaq and other palm devices appear with windows ce.
    I don't think it will steal Apple's costumers but it
    will give a good competition
  • RE: Analysts deem Palm launch a success; Pre inventory replenishment eyed

    I really like this product and its futures. The WebOS platform will deem to be the future for mobile computing. The future is "cloud" service offerings. With the emphasis on delivery of applications in the "cloud". The PRE is well fitted for this delivery model in my opinion, and with the awesome Sprint data services, the two are a natural compliment. I appreciate the iPhone, and its advantages, but the strong point with the iPhone is the application store, and the easy of use, so I really hope Sprint gets it right here. I ordered my PRE from my corporate retailer, as I do not subscribe to the marketing hype with waiting in line, etc.... I needed a new phone as my HTC Mogul was running short and the contract was up, so it was a natural upgrade for me. HOWEVER, I dont think I would pay a premium or break a contract to get a PRE.
  • First to Verizon wins my $$

    As far as I can tell, the only factor that's going to decide whether I get a Pre or an iPhone is who gets on Verizon first.

    I had a horrible experience with AT&T's customer service years ago that will keep me from *ever* giving them another penny and whenever I call someone in the NYC area who has Sprint, it's a coint toss as to whether they have enough of a signal to actually talk to me.
    • How about T-Mobile and their GSM network?

      If you had a bad--no, you said horrible--experience with AT&T there was, and is, always T-Mobile. Of course, years ago, there was Suncom before they were bought out by T-mobile.

      In other words, I will buy a Pre when it is on a GSM network...either an unlocked GSM phone or sold by T-mo.
    • Dude- YOU Get IT!!!

      I TOTALLY agree.. Verizon has the fastest network, clearest phone calls, most coverage, and an ok. C/S... However they have the WORST phones. Who ever gets the Pre or Iphone to Big Red gets my $$..

      I have been using cell phones since my bag phone in 1989 and have tried them all. AT&T has hands down the worst customer reps and Sprints coverage is somewhat spotty in the rural areas... The rest of them, Forget it!

      I hope the Pre wins because Steve Jobs is a tool...
  • I'm going to pass for now...

    I was really excited about the reports of the Pre and even happy (unlike a lot of folks) that it was going to be available on the Sprint network as I am a current Sprint customer. After months of reading everything I could find about the Pre, I went to the Sprint store on Saturday only to find out they'd sold out within an hour of the store opening. I was told that I could order a phone and that it would be shipped out to me. Ok, I thought, I can deal with that. Until I started talking to the rep about the plan I'd have to "upgrade" to. The only "upgrade" to the plan would be in the amount of money I would be paying to Sprint. I currently have a Centro with a family minutes plan and an unlimited data plan. To have similar coverage (with less voice minutes) on a Pre, I'd have to pay a minimum of $50 US more per month and get NOTHING in return. Add to this to the fact that the hands-on I had with the demo model in the store was less than I'd hoped (the delays in launching apps sometimes had me thinking that the phone had not registered my action, and the cover for the USB port took almost 5 minutes to pry open without breaking) I'd rather wait for the next gen of the product (Can everyone say micro-SD slot? I knew you could...). And maybe once other carriers have access to the Pre, Sprint will be a little more reasonable about their voice/data plans.

    - Snuffy -

    [i]Feeding the trolls since 1989.[/i]
    • Similar situation, opposite perception

      When doing research Friday night ahead of launch, sa soon as I read in David Pogue's review that iTunes sync worked flawlessly, I was sold. However, not being a fanboi of anything, I decided that I'd accept my "Sprint Premier" invitation, and arrive at the store at 8am on Saturday morning, but not stay if there was a ridiculous line. When I arrived, I found a line of about 20 people, including the one guy that spent the night in a tent. However, I was handed a ticket which "guaranteed" me one of the phones in stock, and I spent the hour waiting to be served. My initial impressions of the demo phone was not overwhelming, also sensing a few delays in response. However, as I got used to the touch interface, I realized I had been being too delicate - the Pre requires decisive touch. I was also concerned that I was going to end up paying more for my plan than I currently had. I love my Centro and it's data speed/reliability, and the 3 other family phones fit my previous plan very well.

      All said and done, I ended up getting nearly 50% more minutes of talk (which we'll never use - up from 2100 to 3000; our avg use is 1850), all-inclusive data services for not just the Pre, but _all_ of the family phones, for the same price as I was paying before.

      And customer service was spot on. I've never had trouble with Sprint CS, other than a couple of long hold times, but Saturday morning was like a trip to the spa. The Pre is a phenomenal platform with solid features out the door. As more developers get their hands on the SDK, the current void of applications will quickly be filled. My few downloads from the current applications store were quick and easy, and the apps look and behave intuitively similar to the built-in apps. Given that I have an iPod Touch, my expectations for installing new apps had a pretty high bar, and Sprint/Pre cleared it convincingly.

      Good launch, good phone; I look forward to future service and additional platforms from Palm
  • RE: Analysts deem Palm launch a success; Pre inventory replenishment eyed

    I've been with Sprint for over 10 years... I
    remember their red-circle with a slash... Text
    was, NO
    CONTRACTS... Well, I've been month-to-month
    with them
    ever since and never did the upgrades... until
    Saturday morning... WOW! What a great phone.
    I am
    sold. No 30-day thinking period for me. GPS,
    texting, web, facebook, wifi, bluetooth, TV,
    youtube, music downloads, mp3, 3 megapixel
    camera with
    flash, memos, tasks, and on and on. And you
    can hop from card to card (their word for
    window) without loosing your place in each.
    True multi-tasking! Woohoo! It's amazing! I
    love it.
    Great work Palm and Sprint. It's fast,
    intuitive and
    I'm tellin' everyone about it.
    Keep smiling,
  • RE: Analysts deem Palm launch a success; Pre inventory replenishment eyed

    I think it's a great phone minus the EAS issue that I'm sure that they are going to fix. I've rolled with Windows Mobile phones over the past several years but because of the phones suffering in the areas of battery life and operating systems hanging, which I've become use to, I decided to try out the new Palm Pre. I'm going on faith with Palm because I bought in to the release of Treo 800W which was one of their worst blunders ever!

    Great phone the Pre is.....

  • RE: Analysts deem Palm launch a success; Pre inventory replenishment eyed

    I TOTALLY agree.. Verizon has the fastest network, clearest phone calls, most coverage, and an ok. C/S... However they have the WORST phones. Who ever gets the Pre or Iphone to Big Red gets my $$..

    I have been using cell phones since my bag phone in 1989 and have tried them all. AT&T has hands down the worst customer reps and Sprints coverage is somewhat spotty in the rural areas... The rest of them, Forget it!

    I hope the Pre wins because Steve Jobs is a tool...