I'm still waiting for some official word on when Palm's Pre is coming out, but a few items leaked this week that may point to a price. There's also speculation that Palm may cap the stock of the handset when it's released to create a buss. That's right, we may face Wii-like scarcities.As for the pricing, iSuppli was able to break down the Pre and said it costs Palm about $170 to create each smartphone. This includes the costs of components, software, and licensing, but doesn't include marketing or development costs. The company said it expects Palm to sell Pre smartphones to Sprint for $300, and the carrier could then subsidize it.
"The similarity in features between the Pre and the iPhone clearly reveals the mark Palm is trying to hit," said iSuppli analyst Tina Teng in a statement. "The use of multi-touch screen - a key allure of the iPhone - and Palm's innovative webOS operating system, are likely to allow the Pre to appeal to a broad range of consumers."
It's a rather reasonable price for a brand new handset, as Apple reportedly sells iPhones to AT&T for at least $600. The retail price will be up to Sprint ultimately, and they're delusional if they think they can sell the Pre for one cent above the $199 mark. If they really wanted to make a splash and grab customers, they'd bite the bullet and release it at $99. I sincerely doubt they'd do that, but if iSuppli is right with their rough costs, Sprint could easily release this at $149 with a new two-year contract. That's a very attractive price especially considering Sprint's Simply Everything plans give the best value for any mobile data service.
Of course, the price won't matter if you can't get your hands on one, and Bloomberg is reporting Palm may have limited stock at launch to give it the cachet of exclusivity. The theory goes: the early adopters will rave about the device, and others will burn up inside because they can't get their hands on it. It's basically Eric Cartman's marketing strategy for his theme park.
Palm hasn't responded to his story, and they've been extremely good with its plumbing for the Pre, as not much non-official information has come out. If this is truly part of Palm's strategy, I beg them to stop. I don't see it having response like the Wii, as the brand awareness of the Pre is extremely low outside of the tech circles. I think this is a fantastic product that will sell well on its own without any of these marketing tactics.
Additionally, the Boy Genius Report got their hands on a bunch of screenshots from the webOS emulator. It looks nice and pretty, much more polished than Android, and on par with the other mature operating systems. The photo on the right is the webOS using a map application, and you can view the rest of the screenshots here.