FINALLY: Palm Pre Shipping June 6 for $199.99
At long last, the Palm Pre has a price and a release date. Ending months of rumor and speculation, Palm and Sprint (S) said this morning that the device will arrive at market nationwide June 6 (I know, I know, a day before the day I said it wouldn’t arrive). Price: $199.99 with a two-year service agreement and after a cheesy $100 mail-in rebate.
Seems that in the end, Palm (PALM) decided it would be folly not to match the $199 price of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone, though according to CEO Ed Colligan, the Pre is far superior to it. Asked at the Consumer Electronics Show if Palm would try to take market share by undercutting the iPhone on price, Colligan told MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka, “Why would we do that when we have a significantly better product?”
Perhaps, because you must? As J.P. Morgan analyst Paul Coster noted this morning, “The $199 price point was absolutely necessary, in our view, to go head to head with RIM and Apple.”
Interestingly, this means the Pre will indeed ship just days before Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the event at which the company is expected to announce its next-generation iPhone. Which suggests that perhaps, as I theorized yesterday, Palm is hoping the Pre will benefit from the iPhone halo. “By debuting so close to the presumed announcement of the iPhone, Palm would be ensuring that its new device is fresh in the minds of anyone mulling the purchase of Apple’s latest offering–or writing about it,” I wrote. “It would be parasitically riding on the back on the Apple media juggernaut. Question is, can it hang on without getting trampled?”