In today’s note, USB analyst Maynard Um examines an interesting possibility: What if Palm Pre, a device expected to hit Sprint Nextel stores shortly, sells as well as the legendary Apple iPhone?
Under this assumption, Palm could ship 865,000 units in the quarter ended in August, according to Um. The device is expected to start shipping in May or June. “We raise our target [for Palm’s shares] to $11 from $7.30 but maintain our Neutral rating as we think a fairly successful Sprint launch is priced into shares,” Um writes.
Here’s my two cents: While Pre is, by all accounts, an attractive phone, UBS’s figures seem a bit high. Here’s why: The Pre will be coming out just when Apple’s new iPhone will be making its debut. The iPhone launch is sure to attract many first adopters who might have opted for the Pre, were it to launch in a different quarter.
What’s more, consumers don’t buy that many cell phones in summertime. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the big shopping months. Even during the hot holiday season, selling that many phones is hard. After becoming available in the U.S. last October, another highly anticipated phone, T-Mobile G1, sold 1 million units through mid-April. G1 sold 1 million units over nearly two quarters. I don’t see why the Pre should be more popular than the G1 — and in an off-season quarter, too.