Palm Pixi. Click to enlarge.
Sprint today unveiled pricing and sale dates for the Palm Pixi, revealing that the smartphone goes on sale Nov. 15 for $99.99 after rebates.
In addition to Sprint (NYSE: S) stores, the Pixi, the smaller sibling to the Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) Pre, will be sold at Best Buy, RadioShack and Wal-Mart retail locations.
“We are excited to offer the new Palm Pixi to our customers in time for the holiday season, and it’s a great addition to Sprint’s industry-leading device portfolio,” Kevin Packingham, senior vice president of product development at Sprint, said in a statement. “Simply put, this phone is fun and easy to use; with its multitouch screen and full QWERTY keyboard, it’s a great device for messaging and social networking at a price everyone can enjoy, and delivers so many of the great features people love about Palm Pre in a fantastic new form factor, making it a huge hit for consumers.”
The Pixi joins the flagship Pre as Palm rolls into the critical holiday shopping season with its hopes of a comeback pinned to sales of the two webOS-based handsets, and as it prepares to officially launch its associated app store, dubbed Palm App Catalog.
Since Palm launched the Pre in early June, all eyes have been on the embattled mobile device maker to see whether the new device could help resuscitate its fortunes.
While the Pre — and Pixi — garnered positive reviews, some analysts cite exclusivity with Sprint as hampering sales.
“Palm has bet its future on webOS, but its first two handsets, the Pre and Pixi, are Sprint exclusives. The Pre has not sold well enough to merit a congratulatory press release or to reverse Sprint’s falling CDMA postpaid subscriber numbers,” according to a research note issued today by Avi Greengart, analyst at Current Analysis.
“In early 2010, Sprint’s U.S. exclusive will be up, and Palm will begin selling webOS products at the three largest carriers; European sales are expected to start before then,” he said. “If the added distribution sparks increased sales, Palm is home free. If not, webOS is almost certainly destined to live on when another industry player buys the company.”
Meanwhile, Sprint, the nation’s third-largest carrier, has been beleaguered by mounting losses and continues looking to shore up its business in large part on the success of devices like the Pre and Pixi.
The company is set to report earnings for the third-quarter on Thursday.
Sprint’s rivals No. 1 Verizon Wireless and No. 2 AT&T have each already reported their third-quarter financial results, and so far, the pecking order remains the same — despite AT&T again posting a record quarter due to new iPhone subscribers.
Verizon’s customer base grew 1.2 million to 88.9 million from 87.7 million, while AT&T jumped to 2 million to 81.6 million from 79.6 million.
Currently, Sprint checks in at 48.8 million, trailed by T-Mobile with 33.5 million.