If recent filings with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) are being interpreted correctly, AT&T could be getting some form of the Palm Pre in May. The question is, will anyone really care?
Sprint was the first to get the Palm Pre, and then Verizon followed up with the Pre Plus which doubled the memory of the original. Now, a reader of the PreCentral forums, who has a track record for correctly getting information out of FCC filings, has found some information pointing to AT&T as being the next carrier to get the flagship phone of Palm’s WebOS handsets.
We won’t bore you with the multitude of clues the user, ToniCipriani, found, but it looks pretty definite that AT&T will be getting some version of the Palm Pre on May 10th of this year. That question is, as we mentioned above, is will anyone really care?
AT&T has been ravaged with bad press over the past several months about its lackluster 3G network and dropped calls. While debate rages on if it is AT&T’s fault, or the actual iPhone, the damage has quite probably been done in the eyes of the public. Will customers who are interested in the Pre, and not already tied to a carrier, be willing to go with AT&T over the likes of Sprint or Verizon if this is the phone they desire?
The real potential winner in this is Palm. In my recent post about how smartphone sales are way up, you’ll notice in the charts of which companies have the largest market share, Palm doesn’t have enough to even be named separately. According to an even newer set of data released by comScore, Palm had 8.3 percent of the market back in Sept., but by Dec. it had fallen to 6.1 percent with Android quickly setting up to surpass it.
Palm is currently a perfect example of how cell phone exclusivity can be harmful to a brand. By tying themselves to Sprint, the fourth place network amongst the big four, for so long, the company limited its chances of adoption. You would think the association with Verizon would have helped it, but it looks like it was the equivalent of sticking your finger in one of many holes in a leaking dyke. Now with AT&T in its corner, Palm will have to fight being overshadowed by the iPhone when anyone considers changing to that carrier.
While the move to add AT&T probably won’t hurt Palm, it’s unclear if it’s going to be all that helpful either.