Palm's Pre May Not Be Drawing Much Interest - InformationWeek

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4/17/2009
02:25 PM
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Palm's Pre May Not Be Drawing Much Interest

Many customers are more interested in buying a BlackBerry or iPhone instead of Palm's Pre, according to a survey by ChangeWave Research.

Palm Pre
(click image for larger view)
Palm Pre

Palm needs the upcoming Pre smartphone to be a hit, but it may have trouble attracting customers, according to a new survey from ChangeWave Research.

The survey asked 4,292 potential smartphone buyers about what type of device they'd be interested in buying in the next few months, and only 4% said they'd want a Pre. By comparison, 37% said they would want Research In Motion's BlackBerry, and 30% said they want Apple's iPhone 3G.

The results were even worse among existing smartphone buyers, as only 1% of current iPhone owners and 4% of BlackBerry owners said they would consider the Pre. Additionally, the survey found Sprint Nextel may be another adoption problem, as only 1% of respondents would consider switching to the network to nab the Pre.

Palm was once the king of the U.S. smartphone market, but it has been outpaced by RIM and Apple over the last few years. It unveiled the Pre at this year's Consumer Electronics Show to help it make a comeback, and it was generally well-received by the press.

The Pre has many of the features one expects from a high-end handset, including Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, a robust processor, and 3.1-inch touch screen with a sharp resolution. One of the most attractive features of the handset is its operating system, webOS. This OS was built from the ground up with Internet connectivity in mind, and it pulls in a user's information from various Web services into a single finger-friendly interface.

Unlike the iPhone, the Pre has very little brand awareness outside of the tech press. This is slowly beginning to change, though, as Palm's smartphone is featured prominently in a new series of Sprint commercials, and the carrier will likely throw its marketing heft behind the device when it's released in the first half of the year.

Additionally, Palm has said that it does not need to be the market leader to be able to thrive, as it's targeting the "fat middle" of the expanding smartphone market. It will face stiff competition, though, as companies like Motorola, Samsung, LG Electronics, and HTC will also be vying for this demographic.


Part of the growth in the smartphone market will be for enterprise use, and this can quickly bring up multiple questions about security and mobility policies. InformationWeek analyzed how businesses can lock down data when it's on the move, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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