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Rumor: Palm Pre 'officially' delayed (UPDATED with Palm response)

UPDATE 10:19 a.m. EST: Palm online communications director Jon Zilber just e-mailed me with the following: "Palm delay rumors are fiction.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor
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UPDATE 10:19 a.m. EST: Palm online communications director Jon Zilber just e-mailed me with the following: "Palm delay rumors are fiction. Pre is still on target to be available in the first half of 2009."

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Jason Wilk over at tinycomb just posted that he has "received an inside tip from a Palm design employee stating the Pre is officially delayed."

This comes right on the heels of Palm's announcement that sales are dismal in anticipation of the Pre's launch, as well as my post yesterday saying that Palm should have had the Pre ready to roll when it announced it on January 8.

There is a scheduled Sprint and Palm webcast on Thursday, March 12 that is undoubtedly concerning the Pre (what else?). The Webcast starts at 11 a.m. PST on March 12 with 20 minutes scheduled for the presentation and 20 minutes for Q&A:

On Thursday, March 12, Sprint and Palm will co-host a Webcast centered around the Pre, complete with a demo by Fared Adib, vice president of Sprint Device Operations & Logistics, and Matt Crowley, product line manager at Palm. According to the e-mail, they will also highlight three key differentiators that make the Pre a "standout in the smartphone device category."

If it's true -- hard to say, since Wilk didn't reveal any details about his single source -- it's devastating news, leaving just one question to be answered: just how much of a delay can Palm and its customers (including Sprint) stand to wait beyond the initial "first half of 2009" window?

(Any Palm employees or partners reading this who can confirm/deny/shed some light on this rumor? E-mail me using the link below.)

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