Palm Pixie in November?

Published on June 30, 2009
by John Paczkowski

According to some lines of code secreted away within webOS, Palm has at least one more handset in the pipeline–the so-called Eos (codename: Pixie).

The device, intended as a replacement for the Centro, Palm’s last PalmOS smartphone, is expected to feature a 2.6-inch multitouch display, inline keyboard, two-megapixel camera and 4GB of internal storage, among other features. Word on the street has it priced at $99 with contract, rounding out the lower end of Palm’s new webOS lineup.

And when will it arrive at market? No one seems to know, though Tavis McCourt and Justin Patterson at Morgan Keegan & Company speculate that we’ll see it sometime this fall. “We believe initial Pixie shipments will begin in the November quarter, although timing is still uncertain (we believe the goal would likely be a holiday launch),” the analysts wrote in a research note today.

“Although Pixie is unlikely to be a ‘hero’ product with massive advertising and subsidy support, its $99 price point should drive substantial volumes and we believe distribution can be broader initially if not exclusive. In general, we have used the Centro as a benchmark for the Pixie. At a $99 retail price point, the Centro peaked out at about 1 million units shipped/quarter with distribution at all of Palm’s significant historic customers. We have the Pixie ramping quickly to these levels in calendar 2010 as distribution ramps.”

That seems a reasonable expectation, especially if the Pixie isn’t exclusive to a single carrier. And at present, it’s thought that the device will be available, at least initially, from both AT&T (T) and Sprint (S).

So, as McCourt and Patterson note, Palm (PALM) could be poised for some significant gains in market share. “We expect Pre shipments of 2.2 million in 2010 (May 2010) and Pixie shipments of 1.2 million,” the analysts write. “Based on our bottoms up estimate, we forecast Palm will ship just over 7 million smartphones in fiscal 2011, which would likely represent about 4 percent of smartphone share, but a more meaningful–10 percent share of its core N. America market.”

[Image credit: Engadget]

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