Palm is mum on official numbers, but analysts predict healthy sales

Palm had one of the most interesting product announcements at CES in January with the unveiling of its webOS-based Pre smartphone. It has been only a few short weeks since the Pre debuted on the Sprint network as an exclusive handset for at least six months.

Sprint has already said that the Pre has set sales records for the company and Palm has been mum on exactly how many Pres it has shipped. The glory for Sprint and Palm could be short-lived with the iPhone 3G S coming this week and the new Blackberry Tour announced for Sprint and Verizon yesterday.

Palm may be holding back on shipment data, but analysts are using their own numbers to predict how many handsets Palm has shipped. Analyst James Faucette from Pacific Crest Securities told Reuters, "We believe that between 90,000 units and 100,000 units were sold in the first week. Given the high number of people still on waiting lists ... the company appears to be on track to exceed our previous August quarter unit shipment estimate of 500,000."

Another Analyst, David Eller of JRPG, said that Palm sold 84,000 Pre handsets in the first weekend with 35% of that number going to new Sprint customers. Palm appears to be playing a wait and see game before it launches more webOS devices. The company needs to be sure the demand for the Pre and its new OS keeps up before launching another device.

Palm has an earnings report scheduled for June 25 reports Reuters and new CEO Jon Rubinstein is expected to talk about the Pre and new webOS devices. Sprint has announced that the Pre set records for sales already and has said that it is restocking the Pre as fast as Palm can make them.

Paul Coster, analyst from J.P. Morgan wrote, "Pre shipments seem to be tracking our expectations, and there is still pent-up demand, assuming (consumers put on waiting lists for handsets) can be converted into purchases."

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