With the incredibly hyped media (you actually have to wonder if all this hype is a good thing - because it's going to be almost impossible for it to meet ALL the hype), there have been not only some Pre-reviews (bad joke) but some interesting announcements from Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
I wonder if that was actually a good thing...
So there are two sides to this.
The Good: There's NO question this is ultimately a good thing for Palm. While much has been made of the six month exclusivity that Sprint has on the Pre, there has been little news regarding a (foreign) GSM carrier picking up the device any time soon. In one respect, you have to wonder what has happened in the last six months over at AT&T and Verizon Wireless that has made them decide to take on the device, as well as the recent announcement that AT&T will have the Eos during the second half of 2009. So this is all good stuff. momentum is building for webOS and the Pre and if you believe the preliminary reviews, it looks to be a very solid device (although not the much hyped iPhone "killer").
The Bad: The Bad news is that AT&T and Verizon Wireless have announced that they will be carrying the Pre once the Sprint exclusibity period is over. Hunh? You might be saying to yourself "Whatchoo talkin about Willis?" (check out the YouTube -it's quite funny). But seriously, you have to wonder about the announcements from the two other US carriers. In fact, you have to ask yourself if this will actually do more harm than good for Palm. How?
By having this exclusivity period with Sprint, where the Pre is their "Hero" device, both companies are counting on 1) current Sprint customers wanting to upgrade to this device, as well as 2) people defecting from other carriers because they MUST have this device. Well, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have all but killed #2 by announcing before the device is even in the market that they will eventuallt get the device. Engadget actually put it best:
[If] you're considering the Pre right now, you have to debate whether or not you want to hop onto Sprint's network. If you're already a customer and you're looking for a new phone, this one is a no-brainer -- but is this enough to lure you away from another carrier? We've debated (and continue to debate) the point ourselves -- though it looks like given what AT&T and Verizon are saying, that might not matter pretty soon.
And there's the rub. It actually doesn't matter to the consumer....but it sure will to Sprint and Palm who will need the cashflows now. The market for people who may be interested in the device AND willing to switch carriers is far smaller than the market for people who will be interested in the device and willing to wait. Now that the phone will be available on other carriers (eventually), people will most likely put off their purchase of the device....thus potentially hurting Palm.
Palm needs to have the Pre be a complete home run. I wonder if it became a triple because of carrier chest beating....