Palm Pre Sales Good, But Not 'iPhone Great'

 |  Includes: PALM, S
by: Eric Savitz

Palm (PALM) shares are selling off Monday morning in the first trading day after the debut of the much awaited Pre smart phone, the first device to use the company’s new Web OS operating system software.

According to Bloomberg, the phone sold out in some Sprint (NYSE:S) retail stores. RBC Capital analyst Jonathan Atkin said total sales may have been under 100,000 phones - but that the company should be able to sell as many as they can produce for the foreseeable future. Neither Palm nor Sprint officially gave out any numbers on units sold. Other estimates on phones sold ranged from 50,000 to 200,000.

Standard & Poor’s analyst James Moorman Monday morning repeated his Sell rating and $9 target price on the stock. He said visits to several New York and New Jersey Sprint and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) stores; he found small lines in New York City, but “adequate supply” in New Jersey several hours after store openings at locations that received 60 to 80 handsets. He says some stores received as few as 5-10 units. Overall, he contends, response was good but not “iPhone great,” but that the stock was baking in closer to “iPhone great.” notes that Gizmodo is reporting some users are experiencing screen distortion at the bottom of the screen’s device. From Gizmodo:

While the overall issue has not yet been acknowledged by Palm, so far today there are eight pages of discussion over at the Precentral forums, where most of the affected users report similar circular distortion at the bottom of the Pre’s otherwise sharp-looking screen.

At the EverythingPre forums there are similar complaints, each regarding the bottom area of the screen.

From our brief foray over to the forums, it appears as though some Sprint stores are aware of the issue, and have been exchanging the spot-plagued handsets for new ones, if stock allows. Some of the photo “evidence” is a little more compelling than others, although there does appear to be something faint at the bottom of the screen in a few images. Be warned though that some of the “distortion” has been ID’d by users as a normal part of the background design.

PALM Monday morning is down 84 cents, or 6.5%, to $12.16.

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