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5/22/09

Could Sprint Palm Pre Become the Apple iPhone Killer this Summer?

Posted By Matt O'Hern in marketingshift.com

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Summer is the season of major blockbusters, and Sprint and Palm Inc. aim to knock the iPhone off its throne with the Palm Pre, for an upset on par with Hickory's win over South Bend Central in Hoosiers.

Sprint (NYSE:S) and Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) are pulling all the stops to challenge Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). An ad in today's Wall Street Journal links to the Meet the Palm Pre Page, which is saturated with more bells and whistles than a movie preview page.

It includes a countdown ticker, and a Palm Pre Tweet Tracker, Streaming videos via Youtube, a "Palm Pre mentions online" counter and a forum called: Buzz About Wireless. Moderated by Sprint, popular Buzz forum topics include a few themes that might raise a few concerns with Sprint's PR department. Those user-submitted topics include:
* Many unhappy people about Pre plans
* Palm & Sprint screwing over existing AND potential customers?!?!?
* Palm Pre Shortage! Only 4 Per Store, Including Best Buy
* Plan Confusion -- Can we get definitive answer


Here's an excerpt from the Many unhappy people about Pre plans.

There are many folks like me who pay for data, have enough minutes (3500) on a Free and Clear plan, ( which I never need to worry about going over our limit) and now will have to pay DOUBLE for a plan to get a Pre or Why double? No one likes to be afraid of going over the monthly limit and pay .40/minute. As a business owner we would have to opt for the unlimited plan ( if we want the shiney new Pre) which is actually more than double of what we pay now.Our situation is not isolated.

Only a few posts later, a disgruntled AT&T subscriber contrasted Sprint's Pre Plan with his AT&T plan. I chuckled to myself because I could relate to his frustration. He wrote:

I don't want to hear it. You guys have it good compared to AT&T's outrageous charges.To get everything Sprint offers for the Pre, I would have to pay $39 more per month on AT&T. $40 for 450 minutes, $20 for unlimited text, $30 for unlimited data, and $9 for N&W at 7pm.I wish I wasn't in contract. I would be in the line at 8AM on the 6th.

Of all the negative threads, the most problematic one could prove to be the rumors of Best Buy (NYSE:BB) shortages which won't be restocked until two weeks after the June 6 release. Conversely, preferred dealers, including Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), are expected to have decent inventory on the day of launch. As of the time I entered this post, no official spokesperson from Sprint has replied to the thread.

Perhaps this shortage speculation is a undercover ploy to increase the buzz by insinuating short supply of the Sprint 4G Network phones, therefore increasing the demand.After all, one of the main reasons people line up for these phones is for the bragging rights.

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