Palm unleashed its would be savior, the Pre, a little over five months ago amidst a firestorm of media hype and customer interest. Commercials, albeit creepy ones were on the air and consumers were flocking to Sprint stores to see this innovative new WebOS. Now, Pre ads are nowhere to be seen, and the device, despite glowing reviews (from journalists and yours truly), seems to have completely fallen off the map. Certainly the iPhone 3GS launching a few weeks after the Pre didn’t help, but one would have assumed Palm and Sprint would have been prepared for the Apple onslaught. It seems as if Palm spent all their marketing dollars on the first two months of launch, and just assumed the devices forward inertia would carry it to success, and unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.
I am a huge fan of the Pre. In fact, I think it is a better keyboard away from being the perfect phone. Its ‘deck of cards’ UI is intuitive, reliable, and fun to use. Its browser is stellar, and Sprint’s network is extremely reliable and fast. This all should have been a winning combination, but it just hasn’t translated for Sprint or Palm. Whether it was releasing one of the hottest devices of the year on a smaller carrier, or just consumer apathy, it’s a shame to see just a capable device like the Pre fade into the background. Certainly folks looking at the new Pixi may turn their gaze to its big brother, but the Pixi looks destined to the same fate as the Pre. All sizzle, no fire. However, all is not lost for the little phone that really can. It needs a bigger audience. GSM versions have been released in Europe, and will be out in Mexico soon. Please, Palm, release the Pre on AT&T. Let more people see how capable and fun it is to use. I’m sure Sprint’s exclusivity clause prevents this in the short term but long term, give us GSM folks some Pre love, and let journalists like me do the advertising for you, and if that doesn’t work, there’s always that Q1 Verizon release.