AS PREDICTED last week, the Palm Pre is to be launched before the Apple Worldwide Developers' Conference. It will be debut on Saturday, June 6, two days before Apple's expected announcement of iPhone updates. Priced from $200, the new Pre will be limited to the US market initially.
There has clearly been intense pressure on Palm to launch the phone before Apple's conference and the company hope to take advantage of the marketing opportunity created by the expiration of the first batch of two-year-old AT&T contracts. It remains to be seen how many iPhone users, most of whom have invested time and money into building up their application libraries, will be prepared to ditch Apple and try a new platform.
The majority of iPhone users who are also Mac owners will probably stay with the Apple OS for reasons of compatibility. But Windows users who have bought iPhones could well be tempted by Palm's innovative offering.
The choice of June 6, D-Day, for the introduction of the Pre could be significant and, probably, the coincidence has been overlooked by Palm in the haste to get in first before Apple. It will be interesting to see whether this will be a D-Day for Palm or for Apple.
The impending Pre launch is the first piece in the June phone-wars jigsaw. While we know that the iPhone 3.0 software will be announced on June 8, the appearance of the new updated iPhone hardware is less certain. There will certainly be pressure on Apple to bring forward the announcement. Meanwhile, no news from Microsoft and Zune.