Palm investors celebrating too soon?

Reuters has an interesting article posted this evening about Palm’s new Pre smartphone.

“Palm Inc stole the limelight at the Consumer Electronics Show by unveiling a new touch-screen phone and mobile operating system that doubled its share price overnight.

But investors may be celebrating too soon.

Analysts gave a thumbs-up to the new Palm Pre smartphone and webOS operating system, but said it was too early to conclude that the long-awaited new products can rescue Palm, which has lost both market share and cachet to Apple Inc’s iPhone and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.

They said important questions remain unanswered, including price, how quickly Palm can bring the device to market, and how long the phone would be exclusive to subscribers of Sprint Nextel Corp, the weakest of the top three U.S. mobile services.

“Palm remains a ‘show-me’ story in our view, with its turnaround dependent upon execution and financial performance beyond webOS and Pre’s initial debut,” said Mike Abramsky, RBC analyst who reiterated his “sector perform.” “

Keep reading

Barron’s Lands Colligan Interview

Eric Savitz, of Barron’s Tech Trader Daily, managed to get some clarifications about the Pre smartphone earlier today from Palm’s CEO Ed Colligan.

  • Pricing: It’s up to Sprint to set the street price, and you don’t want to do it until closer to launch, given the competitive environment.
  • Exclusivity for Sprint: “It’s a launch exclusive. Not forever.”
  • Non-U.S. markets: The big opportunity is not in other CDMA markets, but in UMTS markets; he says they will have a UMTS version, which is on the same development cycle as the CDMA version. The CDMA version will launch first, but the other version will follow soon after. He says the Pre will launch in markets outside the U.S. before the end of the year.
  • Will they license the platform to other hardware vendors? Not yet. “We’ve looked at the pros and cons,” he says. “I would not rule it out absolutely. It makes no sense until you have a critical mass of products running on the platform, and it has an established position. Today it would be the wrong thing to do.”
  • An enterprise product, or a consumer product? He says they have targeted “the fat middle.” It works with Exchange out of the box. “We’re really targeting busy people on the go. We’re hopeful the design will appeal to a lot of people.”
  • Big marketing campaign coming? Oh, yeah. And today was really the start of it.
  • What about the other Palm phones? Colligan notes that the just launched the Treo Pro, which he says is the best Windows Mobile product on the market, for enterprise customers. And they continue to sell the Centro for teens and young adults.
  • Who actually makes the phone? A major Asian ODM. But not HTC.
  • Is there any removable storage in the phone? No.
  • On the timing of launching during a recession: “I feel pretty good about this category, relative to 90% of the other businesses in the world,” he says. “People are pretty dedicated to their handsets. It’s a reasonably protected area, although who knows?”

Alan’s Comments

I think of all that I have seen and read about the Palm Pre, the lack of removable storage, a lack of a microSD card slot, is like jumping into a pool of ice cold water. By all accounts, the Pre looks like it is everything Palm needs it to be. But considering how quickly I can fill up my 16GB iPod touch, I have to wonder if 8GB of non-expandible memory is going to be enough space once the Pre gets out into the wild.

[Via Barron’s Tech Trader Daily…]

Palm Pre Product Specs

Palm has posted what appears to be the complete list of product specifications. There is a lot of tech packed in this 3.9 x 2.3 x 0.67-inch 4.76 ounce mobile wonder.

Operating system

  • Palm® webOS™

Network specs

  • 3G EVDO Rev A

Display

  • 3.1-inch touch screen
  • 24-bit color
  • 320×480 resolution HVGA display

Keyboard

  • Physical QWERTY keyboard (slide out)

Email

  • Microsoft Outlook® email with Microsoft® Direct Push Technology
  • POP3/IMAP (Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, etc)

Messaging

  • Integrated IM, SMS, and MMS

GPS

  • Built-in GPS

Digital camera

  • 3 megapixel camera with LED flash and extended depth of field

Sensors

  • Ambient light
  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity

Multimedia

  • Audio Formats: MP3, AAC, AAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
  • Video Formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
  • Image Formats: GIF, Animated GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP

Wireless connectivity

  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g with WPA, WPA2, 801.1x authentication
  • Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support

Memory

  • 8GB of user storage (~7.4GB user available)
  • USB mass storage support

Phone as laptop modem

  • Bluetooth tethering

Connectors

  • MicroUSB connector with Hi-Speed USB 2.0
  • 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
  • Palm® Touchstone™ charging dock

Dimensions

  • Width: 59.5mm (2.3 inches)
  • Height: 100.5mm (3.9 inches)
  • Thickness: 16.95mm (0.67 inches)
  • Weight: 135 grams (4.76 ounces)