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…]