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CES 2009: Palm Pre Pricing Predictions

One detail that Palm and its carrier partner Sprint did not share about the new Pre is its selling price. Right now, it is reported to cost anywhere between $99 and $399. What's the real price going to be?
One detail that Palm and its carrier partner Sprint did not share about the new Pre is its selling price. Right now, it is reported to cost anywhere between $99 and $399. What's the real price going to be?When Apple announced the iPhone, it was upfront about the price points. We knew right away exactly how much it was going to cost. Not so with the Palm Pre.

Since Palm and Sprint declined to offer the information themselves, the voices on the Internet have begun speculating on the answer. The first price point bandied about was $399 for the Pre with a contract. Eldar Murtazin of Mobile-review.com published the $399 price point and claimed to have a solid source for the information. Mobile-review.com later reported that the $399 price point was for an unsubsidized phone, and that the subsidized price would fall between $149 and $199.

I asked Sprint directly what the price point would be, and was told in no uncertain terms that the sale price of the Palm Pre has not been set yet.

All this begs a question: What should Palm and Sprint charge for the Pre?

Right now, the sweet spot for smartphone pricing is about $199. That's what the iPhone 3G sells for. The HTC G1 sells for $180. Many of the smartphones on the market have subsidized prices that fall between $150 and $250.

The Pre will be the premium, flagship device for Palm. It has been under development for years. Palm has a right to try to re-coup some of the investment it has made in the Pre and webOS by pricing the Pre on the high side.

But a high price tag could kill it. Palm and Sprint are going to have to price the Pre so it is competitive with the smartphones from other manufacturers. Will they do it? Who is to say.

How much do you think the Pre is worth?

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
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