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See, The Palm Pre Can Be Offered For Free

from the was-it-such-a-ridiculous-suggestion? dept

A little over a month ago, I suggested that Sprint and Palm were making a big mistake in not offering the Palm Pre for free (more specifically, saying that Sprint should subsidize the full price). I don't think I can recall a post where more people told me I was so totally wrong. People insisted it was the dumbest idea ever, and that it would harm the brand value of the Pre, while costing Sprint way too much money. Yet, I still stand by that claim. Sprint doesn't make money selling the phone, it makes it by getting people to sign up for at least two years of Palm Pre service -- which is on the higher end of the service scale. The Pre is not as good as the iPhone, and did very little to really stand out from the competition. So the way to get around that is to offer the device for free.

At least some people seem to agree.

The device is now being offered in the UK... exactly as I suggested: free with a two year contract. At the same time, through some tricky step following, you can actually get the device for free in the US as well. I don't see how that takes away from the prestige of the device at all. If anything, it's only going to help make it easier for some people to at least try it out as a phone.

Of course, my other big complaint with the Palm Pre -- its weak developer support still stands. Famed developer Jamie Zawinski just wrote about his absolutely ridiculous experience trying to get two simple apps available on Palm Pre phones. It's taken months, and they're still not available, even though he wants to make them available for free. Instead, as with the iPhone, the "approval" process of getting apps into the app store are positively ridiculous. I had been seriously considering getting a Palm Pre (in fact, a few months ago, I was positive I was going to get one), but without real developer support, it's just not worth it. I'll wait until a decent Android phone is available instead.

Filed Under: palm pre, pricing
Companies: palm


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  1. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 1 Oct 2009 @ 9:56pm

    Re: o rly?

    Twas I, not Mike, who waxed poetic on the Pre. There's more than one writer here...although Mike is prodigious.

    And I certainly didn't say it was "lightyears ahead of the iPhone". I said "Of all the phones I have seen since the iPhone came out, this is the first one that I think may be better -- and I am very fond of the iPhone". I used "may" as in remains to be seen, but is possible.

    http://www.techdirt.com/blog/wireless/articles/20090604/1806535135.shtml

    I also said the battle would be highly dependent on the state of the Palm app store, which is obviously still the case.

    At this point, I still think device-to-device the two are comparable, with category wins going to each. But when you factor in the ecosystems around the devices, then the iPhone surges ahead.

    The Pre is hardly "me too". That is the company (Handspring/Palm) that created the category of smartphone and pushed the industry forward early in the decade. They were early with PDA/phone integration, installable apps, and early with touch screen UI.

    I don't often find myself singing the praises of Palm, but if you accuse them of me-tooing the iPhone, they you need re-education. Maybe you meant the Newton? Further, WebOS, Synergy, multi-processing are not iPhone copies. And Pre has it's own industrial design and look and feel. If you see nothing special about it, you haven't looked very hard.

    But I will grant to you that it didn't leapfrog the iPhone, so if you merely meant "me too" as "catch up" then I'm on board.

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