Palm Smartphone From Verizon by Early 2010
“Now we aren’t typically the carrier that comes out and announces what we are going to be selling 12 months from now. Other carriers do that, and the media loves to speculate on what we are bringing to market. But what I will tell you is that over the next six months or so you will see devices like the Palm Pre and the cousin on our network from Palm.”
— Verizon Wireless President and CEO Lowell McAdam
For Palm, 2010 will be a year of channel expansion, with its new webOS handsets coming to more carriers. Top among them, Verizon (VZ), which has been rumored to be getting a device “like the Palm Pre” since Palm (PALM) launched it. In a research note to investors today, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu says a Palm smartphone on Verizon is pretty much inevitable.
“Based on our checks with industry and supply chain sources, we have fairly high conviction in Verizon carrying Palm’s webOS-based smart phones sometime in 2010 (potentially as early as 1H),” Wu writes.
“The reason,” Wu explains, “is three-fold: 1) despite heavy promotion and favorable reviews, sales of Android 2.0 smart phones (MOT Droid and HTC Droid Eris) have been somewhat disappointing and below expectations; 2) strong indications point to Palm’s launch exclusive with Sprint ending in 2009; and 3) our checks show high interest in webOS from Verizon including public comments by CEO Lowell McAdam.”
Interesting, especially the comment about Droid sales. If Wu is right, the device may not prove as daunting a competitive challenge as you would think.
“It’s too early to declare game over,” Wu says. “Talking with investors, most have written off Palm as a legitimate competitor and assumed Android will be the platform of choice at Verizon and other carriers. We believe Palm still has sizable advantages with its multitouch capability and vertical integration.”