Palm Pre Coming To O2 UK : Too Little, Too Late?

The announcement by O2 that Palm Pre is coming to the UK was supposed to be met with bewildering celebration accompanied by much enthusiasm on both side of the English Channel - or La Manche for the French.

Instead, the day was miserable in London and there were already some very dark clouds threatening to make the Pre not only Palm's best smartphone ever but also its worst nightmare.

A quick look at today's fluctuations of the share price of Palm tells the whole story. As soon as the news of Pre being officially launched on O2 broke, the company's share price dropped like a stone and finished the day down 2.67 percent. It is still dropping slightly in after hours transactions.

So what's next? Well, the Pre has been around since January and started to sell in June in the US and will be on sale, hopefully before Christmas (let's stick to November) in Europe and England. So there might be up to 10 months lag between the announcement at CES 2009 and the launch by O2 UK.

(Why not read out related article 5 Reasons Why Pre Won't Replace The iPhone For O2 for further insight?)

Compare that with Apple's iPhone 3GS. The device was announced on the 8th of June and released on the 19th of the same month. If Apple can do it, why can't the Pre? Why wait for so long before releasing the smartphone?

An interesting factoid is that Palm is confident that it will be able to sell one million Pre a month worldwide, which by the looks of it, now means next year. In comparison, 300,000 Pres have been sold in June in the US according to Palm, that's 10,000 a day.

In comparison, more than 1 million iPhone 3GS were sold within the first 72 hours. That's an astonishing 14,000 mobiles per hour or thirty three times faster than Palm.

If that's wasn't enough of a handicap, a late release means that the phone will be competing against a number of announced and yet to be announced smartphones that will make it look aged and quasi-obsolete.

By the end of the year, talks of a second generation Pre might already be surfacing which might convince some to wait and postpone their purchases, which might have some catastrophic effect on sales.

Then there's the fact that Pre will be available on O2. Amongst the like of the Toshiba TG01, the iPhone 3GS and the Samsung i7500 and many others soon to come, the Palm Pre might have might have a mighty hard time to shine.

With so many great models, will Palm have all the attention and (financial and marketing) dedication that it should receive? We're not so sure.