In case you missed it, O2 yesterday confirmed that they’ll soon be shipping Palm’s Pre Plus and Pixi Plus handsets.
The handsets “start from free” but unless you want to £35 a month on a 24 month tariff or £40 per month on an 18 month tariff you’ll have to shell out for a Pre Plus, those figures drop to £30 and £35 respectively for the Pixi Plus.
As has been reported elsewhere, Palm has owned up to disappointment with the sales of its WebOS handsets and recent bad headlines about the firm’s future can’t have helped O2 push the first generation Palm.
On the positive side HP’s rescue of the handset maker at least allows O2 to sell the next-gen models without the risk of customers finding themselves in possession of a phone which no longer has manufacturer support.
But I wonder if the poor headlines may have already irredeemably tarnished the Palm and Pre brands?
How many people know someone with a Pre who can espouse its virtues? Peer recommendation is an increasingly important way of getting new business yet outside of an O2 store the only place your average buyer is likely to encounter the Palm brand is in uncomplimentary coverage and reports of poor sales.
Unlike the iPhone and various Android handsets, there seems to be little new positive coverage for Palm’s offerings.
And it has to be said, O2’s release date of May 28th isn’t going to help them shift units – when you have an already ageing also-ran product why bring it to market on the same day that Apple’s iPad finally arrives in the UK?
The problem is that, just like April and May were with the iPad, June’s tech coverage is likely to be dominated by the build up to the new iPhone launch meaning there’s no good time between now and the summer to launch the Pre and Pix Plus over here.
I’m a big fan of choice and I wouldn’t mind a play with a Pre myself – sadly the local O2 store seems only to have dummy handsets on display – but I’m not hopeful either handset will make much of a lasting impression.