Sprint-Nextel Corp. is loving its Pre right now, thanks to the sales record the device set on Sunday for the most sales on the first day and first weekend for any Sprint device. Many locations sold out (as anticipated thanks to stocking shortages).
The carrier is using the success (no specific sales figures have been released) as a proof point for a turnaround at the company, which has been suffering increased churn and profit loss for several quarters. It also has the perception of falling behind its competitors in the hot device category, an image the company is eager to shed.
“Sprint is a very different company than it was 12 months ago,” said CEO Dan Hesse. “Palm Pre is the coming-out party for the new Sprint. It is the perfect device that highlights all of the positive changes in our company.” A statement from the carrier called the Pre representative of the “changes that have taken place at Sprint.”
Pre’s launch coincides with a new “Ready Now” retail experience: Sprint retail associates work one-on-one with customers to personalize phones, set up features and demonstrate how each Sprint phone works before customers leave a Sprint store.
The carrier also points to the dedication of the enthusiasts that stood in line for the device — exemplified by the following tale in a press release, which can be seen as either heartwarming or frightening, depending on your point of view:
Theodore Travis was in line on his wedding day. “On Saturday at 7 a.m., Theodore was 14th in line at an Atlanta-area Sprint store, fidgeting for his new Pre,” the story begins. “His wedding was scheduled for 8 a.m. As much as Theodore wanted Pre, he wanted his bride, Anita, to see him at the altar at the appointed time. At 7:45, he abandoned his wait and left his line-number and credit card information with a Sprint store employee, asking that he “hold the 14th phone for me.” The Sprint store employee obliged. Minutes after the recessional, the newlyweds returned to pick up their phone, spending the first minutes of married life with a Ready Now consultant who walked the happy couple through Pre’s setup and features. The new Mrs. Travis later revealed that her reaction was ‘You did what?’ to her husband spending the hour before their wedding waiting for a phone, but later admitted, ‘I guess I kind of understand now.’”