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Palm's Losses Grow As It Awaits Pre

The company posts its seventh quarterly loss as potential Treo buyers await the webOS-powered Pre.

Palm Pre smartphone

Palm Pre smartphone
(click for larger image)

Palm continues to hope the Pre and webOS can help it get back to profitability, as it reported a third-quarter loss of $98 million.

The news isn't very surprising, as the company issued a warning that its revenue would be lower than expected. Palm reported $90 million in revenue for the quarter, which was well below the $150 million Wall Street expected. The company shipped 482,000 units during the quarter, a 42% decrease year over year. Smartphone revenue was also down 72% to $77.5 million from the same period last year.

The slumping demand is somewhat expected, as potential buyers of devices like the Treo Pro are likely awaiting the release of the webOS-powered Pre.

"We're proceeding through a challenging transitional period, however our current results shouldn't overshadow the tremendous progress we've made against our strategic goals," Palm CEO Ed Colligan said in a statement. "We're poised to usher in a new era at Palm."

Once the leader of the U.S. smartphone market, Palm has been steadily outpaced by Apple and Research In Motion. It has reported seven consecutive quarterly losses, and Palm recently raised about $104 million in a stock offering to help launch the Pre. Palm said the handset will be available on Sprint's network in the first half of 2009.

One of the most attractive features of the Pre is the software that runs it, as webOS pulls in various data from multiple Web services into a single, finger-friendly interface. The platform uses Web standards like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which could make it an attractive choice for Web developers looking to create apps for the mobile space.

Palm also confirmed that it would be periodically offering software updates for webOS, which is similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 3.0 update.


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