Palm on the Defensive: Pre Sales Met Expectations

Fresh off a report that sales of the Pre are a “disaster” in the U.K., Palm is saying hold the phone.

Just last week, Carphone Warehouse and staff from exclusive U.K. carrier O2 claimed that sales of the smartphone were downright awful. But Palm has fired back at the report, saying, according to Web site mobile news, “We acknowledge a few minor quality issues with in-store demos at launch, but these were dealt with quickly. Sales are in line with expectations.”

Last week’s report followed a story from MobileIndustryReview in January that claimed only a few hundred of the phones had been sold in the U.K. and Ireland. At the time, speculation was that the release of the iPhone 3G S prior to the Pre sapped a lot of Palm’s momentum.

Sales in the U.S. have been equally disappointing, a major factor in Palm’s decision to seel to HP, which is buying the struggling phone-maker for $1.2 billion. No word yet if smartphones will be a big part of the company’s future, but HP has suggested that it wants to move forward with Palm’s WebOS, the operating system used by the Pre.

The Pre made its debut on the Sprint wireless network with much fanfare in the U.S. last summer, but in just a few months, found itself drowning in competition from the iPhone, Android-based devices and more. It became available from Verizon Wireless earlier this year and will make its AT&T debut this month, but eliminating exclusivity wasn’t the answer for Palm to remain a standalone company.

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