Palm Pre: The Big Day …
The Palm (PALM) Pre officially went on sale this morning, and judging from initial reports–and my experience at a local Northern California Sprint store–neither demand or supply was particularly overwhelming. Certainly, lines for the device were far shorter than those that extended from Apple (AAPL) stores for the launches of the iPhone and the iPhone 3G.
Arriving outside my local Sprint (S) store about an hour after they first opened, I found not a queue of eager Pre-buyers, but two kids making forts out of a few Pre shipping boxes left outside the store. Inside the store, I found a group of nine people waiting in line to add their names to a waiting list for the device, which was already sold out at this location. A Sprint rep refused to tell me how many Pres had been sold this morning, but admitted that the shipment had been a small one.
The situation is apparently the same across the country. The Boston Globe reports that Sprint’s Back Bay store sold out of its 55 Pres by 11 AM. An informal survey by 24/7 Wall Street reveals sell outs or fast-dwindling supplies of the device at Sprint and Best Buy stores in Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Four of the five Best Buy stores I contacted reported selling out of the Pre very quickly; one representative told me his store had just four of the devices and he believed that to be the case at many other locations.
Sprint stores I spoke with in LA, Chicago and Boston told me they’d sold out by late morning.
Q: How many names on the list? A: “We’re not allowed to say.” A reader tells me that the line outside the W. Division Street in Chicago was at least 50 people long, and that the store started wait-listing people somewhere around #36. Another reader reports a line of about 20 people outside an Emeryville, CA Sprint store. That same reader claims a clerk told him the store had 60 Pres on hand. Still another reader reports that the line outside Sprint’s Market Street store in San Francisco started at 6 AM this morning. There were a dozen or so folks in line by about 7:30 AM. Finally, another reader reports that a Sprint store in San Francisco’s Castro district had a line of about 40 people when she showed up to get in line at 7 AM. That location, too, sold out quickly.
Four phones at the local Best Buy? Stores in Marin, LA and Chicago sold out within hours? Makes you wonder if Palm and Sprint are purposely constraining supply to foster an image of overwhelming demand.