Exercise in Futility? Palm Pre Plus, Pixi Plus Headed to AT&T
Palm’s partnership with Verizon hasn’t done much to bolster flagging sales of the company’s smartphones. Perhaps they will fare a bit better with AT&T.
Or perhaps not.
Against the backdrop of the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas, Palm (PALM) this morning said AT&T is adding the Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus to its handset lineup, an announcement expected since early January.
The two phones will be sold for $150 and $50 respectively, with a two-year contract and after an annoying $100 mail-in rebate. No word yet on availability. Palm says only that the devices are coming “soon.”
With today’s announcement, Palm’s devices will soon be available through three of the four major carriers in the U.S. Will this breadth of distribution be enough to keep the company afloat? Tough to say. As I noted earlier, the company’s relationship with Verizon (VZ) has not been as successful as Palm had hoped.
As CEO Jon Rubinstein noted during Palm’s last earnings call, Verizon was a bit too focused on new Android handsets like Droid to give the Pre and Pixi much of a marketing and sales push. In fact, to drive demand at Verizon and raise apparently limited customer awareness of Palm’s smartphones, the company sent out brand ambassadors to train Verizon’s sales staff.
Given the iPhone’s high profile on AT&T (T) and rumors that Apple (AAPL) is prepping a new iteration of the device for summer release, one wonders if Palm’s smartphones will be anything more than an afterthought for the carrier and its customers.
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