Analyst: Palm Is Not Toast
Investors poised to write off Palm as a legitimate contender in the smartphone market may want to hold off in light of some recent developments that suggest 2010 may be a strong year for the company. With a Verizon (VZ) relationship clearly in the works, some 500 webOS applications available and a high-end and low-end device on which to run them, the highly competitive smartphone sector may well be developing an…appreciation for Palm (PALM).
In a note to clients today, MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen says Palm’s industry position is improving, and quickly too. “We believe that many of the risks we saw to [Palm] have subsided,” Kuittinen writes.
Listing three reasons for optimism, Kuittinen continues. “First,we are much more confident about Palm’s chances to sell through Verizon and believe a Verizon relationship would mitigate the uncertainty of an AT&T relationship.
“Second,” the analyst continues, “Europe is shaping up better than we had anticipated, as Android is failing to get sufficient traction, and the Palm Pre is outselling key HTC and Motorola models in major markets like the U.K.”
Concluding, he adds, “Third, Amazon and Wal-Mart are strongly supporting the Pre and Pixi, vindicating Palm’s strategy of targeting the mass market, rather than tech enthusiasts.”
Interesting points, all of them, particularly the one about European sales. Kuittinen says Pre shipments in Europe have been quite a bit stronger than once thought: “Distributor data from the past two months suggest that Palm could be selling 10,000-15,000 units per month in the U.K. We believe sales are doing reasonably well in Germany through Q2, and strong operator marketing support by Movistar in Spain bodes well for Palm, in our view. In total, we believe Palm could be selling 30,000 units or more per month in Europe.”
Kuittinen expects Palm to beat November expectations when it reports earnings Thursday.