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Get a Palm Pre this weekend? Congratulations.

By Andrew Heining / June 8, 2009

Janay Swain and Al Rogers in Sacramento, Calif., display tickets showing that they were the first in line to buy the Sprint Palm Pre on Saturday. The couple arrived at 3:30 a.m. to buy the smart phone that features a touch-screen and slide-out keyboard.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

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The smart phone heralded as the savior of Palm went on sale Saturday, but availability issues kept opening weekend sales from hitting iPhone-like levels.

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"Palm Pre draws crowds, but less hubbub than iPhone," the New York Times declared. "Short lines formed at Pre launch," The Daily Tech said. Bloomberg mentioned the sell-out, but also noted that many expected "limited supplies" of the much-hyped phones.

An image from Engadget's gallery of the line outside Sprint's flagship store in New York's Flatiron building shows around 20 people waiting to purchase the phone Saturday morning. But Sprint stores, despite not offering to make the Pre's rebate instant, were the place to be if you wanted a Pre on launch day. Radio Shack and Best Buy were reportedly only shipped four and two Pres apiece, respectively.

But is it better than iPhone?

In the comparison everyone's making (and is likely to keep on making for the next months), the $199 Pre was judged to be a success – an "elegant contender," as the Times' David Pogue called it – but many are reserving their judgment of who will win this round of the smart phone wars until after Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference Monday in San Francisco.

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