Palm, Dell phones set for AT&T debut
The Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus will soon be available on the AT&T network. Meanwhile, a Dell phone called the Aero sails for US shores.
The Palm Pre, which launched in 2009, was originally billed as an iPhone-killer – or at very least, a smart, innovative phone that could lift Palm's fortunes, and put the company head to head with bigger rivals such as Apple and Research in Motion.Skip to next paragraph
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But sales of the Palm Pre and the pint-sized Palm Pixi have sagged, and last month Palm signaled that revenue for the fiscal year ending in May would fall well below the originally forecast $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion.
Today comes news that the Palm smart phone line, currently available only on Sprint and Verizon, will be sold at AT&T stores "in coming months." No word on exact date, but Palm says that the AT&T-powered Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus should go for $149.99 and $49.99, respectively, with a two-year voice and data plan and a $100 mail-in rebate.
At 50 bucks with a contract, the Palm Pixi Plus would be half as much as the cheapest Apple iPhone – a nice price point, any way you slice it.
Palm exec Jon Rubinstein suggested in a press release that the AT&T roll-out would help increase Palm's reach. "AT&T and Palm have a history of smart phone leadership, and today's announcement is a significant milestone for us," Mr. Rubinstein said. "With Palm webOS phones coming to AT&T, Palm can help most anyone in the United States stay connected so they never miss a thing."
In related news, AT&T has announced that it will soon carry the Aero, Dell's first smart phone. The Aero, which runs Google's Android operating system, was unveiled last year; right now, it's available in China and Brazil, but not in the States. The Aero looks a little like the Pre, actually – sort of egg-shaped, with a nice 3.5-inch screen and Flash Lite support. AT&T hasn't set a price for the Aero.
Between this news and last week's announcement of an AT&T-compatible Nexus One, this has been a big month for the carrier. The iPhone now has a lot of competition within its network of choice. Good news for AT&T customers.
We want to hear from you: Did Palm wait too long to bring its smart phones onto the AT&T network? And will Dell have more success with its phones than it has with its computers?