Palm Handsets Priced to Pwn
Remarking on slowing sales of the Pre in August 2009, Pali Research analyst Walter Piecyk suggested that Palm (PALM) and Sprint (S), its sole carrier partner at the time, would be wise to drop the price of the device to 99 cents and put it in the hands of as many customers as possible before it lost the little differentiated advantage it had.
Piecyk’s advice went unheeded–until recently. Now with Palm’s fate settled after its acquisition by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) last week, the handset maker’s smartphones have become bargain-bin fare.
Last week also saw Sprint giving away the diminutive Pixi free to anyone willing to sign a two-year contract. This week, Verizon (VZ) is following suit with steep discounts of its own. The carrier has begun offering the Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus for just $29 with a new two-year contract. That’s $120 less and $60 less than the prices at which the devices debuted in January.
It’s also $28.99 more than Amazon’s price.
That’s right, the next-generation versions of the phone former Palm CEO Ed Colligan once described as a “significantly better product” deserving of a higher price than Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone is selling for a penny at Amazon (AMZN). Which is a great deal, particularly since both devices are being offered with free 3G Mobile Hotspot service. Sadly, the offer comes a bit too late to make much of a difference for Palm.