Palm Pre: Slow Growth, Creepy Ads, Great Network

Following the days up to the Palm Pre's launch in early June, the tech industry was abuzz. We became so sick of the term "iPhone killer" that we probably should've made it illegal to say the two words together. All this excitement, then the big launch, and then…nothing.

So, what gives?

Palm Pre Sales
Generally, the tech industry is looking for two things: screaming successes and big flops. The Pre is neither. Sales have been a little below estimates but not bad--in two weeks, we'll know how close the Pre's quarterly sales are to expectations. It's not dethroning the iPhone anytime soon, but Palm is gathering its eggs, getting its app store put together, and acquiring a solid little market share. Also, I've heard good things all around about the Sprint network, despite the stigma Sprint carries.

Palm Pre Advertisements
Probably the most controversial thing about the Pre has been the TV advertisements. If you haven't seen them, check out YouTube and see them for yourself. Word to the wise: one of the first and biggest hits on YouTube is someone's parody of one of the ads, called "Traumatizing Edition"…this video is actually rather disturbing. I had the misfortune of going to YouTube to check out the ads, and clicking on this first, which created a very unrealistic impression of the ads that people claim to be "creepy". In reality, there's very little creepiness about the real ads--they are, however, a little odd. They definitely seek to cut through the clutter and be unique, which they do/are, though I question the wisdom of not mentioning the product's name in the ad. Maybe that's necessary, but it does little to build brand recognition. (But alas, this is another conversation for another day.)

Palm Pre in the Enterprise
My big question with the Palm Pre is this: is Palm targeting the enterprise? Between the social network focus, the consumer TV ad spots, and the use of a new and untested OS, I start to wonder. If you look at the iPhone and Android phones, these devices have had trouble making headway in the enterprise because it takes a long time for an OS to be accepted for general business use. So is Palm, a company that always catered to business users with its Windows Mobile devices, now pulling an about face and hitting consumers only?

That seems hard to believe, but much of the company's marketing takes on a consumer appeal. Though, whether the Pre will be a success in the enterprise or consumer market is still up in the air. I'll let you all know when the quarterly sales results come in.

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