Is the HP Pre 3 DOA?

HP Pre 3“He’ll explain, he says, how “all the pieces of HP come together in a coherent way, and why each part is so important.

And gone will be the days when HP announces a product to great fanfare, and then nothing happens because the product will not hit the shelves until many months later when the buzz is forgotten and the technology ever so slightly-out-of-date.”

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BBC News, February 2011 in regards to Leo Apotheker’s takeover of HP

All the way back on February 9th, Palm – ahem – HP announced the HP Pre 3 smartphone alongside the HP TouchPad. And while the HP TouchPad has made it to shelves already, we haven’t seen hide nor hair of the Pre 3. We heard that it was going to be coming in July to both AT&T and Verizon but we’re now a couple of days into August so that rumor obviously didn’t prove fruitful.

Wait, did I just say August? That’s right. It has been over five months since HP announced the device and like many others out there, I’m beginning to wonder where this thing is. I’m just doing it publicly.  Last we heard, it wasn’t headed to Sprint and it was possibly getting outfitted with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor to better position itself against the competition. But, is that really going to be enough?

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In my opinion, this phone is dead in the water. If it launches at any point in 2011, it’ll be facing stiff competition from phones that blow it out the water, webOS and all. First up, in August, we have the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S II. It’ll likely be heading to AT&T, Sprint and Verizon at the very least. That provides little breathing room for the Pre 3’s launch on AT&T and Verizon.

If HP waits until September, it will then be put up against the Motorola Droid Bionic and the next iPhone. Good luck with that. Remember what happened with the original Palm Pre? Yeah, not surprising that Dan Hesse and company took a pass on this phone this time around.

Well, how about October? At that point, it will have been announced 10 months ago and the new Nexus phone will be closer than ever. As will Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Oh, and let’s not forget Windows Phone Mango and Nokia’s first Windows Phone. Who on earth, besides current TouchPad owners, would be compelled to buy this phone with that in the back of their head? Seriously, find me someone that would buy this phone over the other options that are going to be available.

So I am thinking that one of these four things is going to happen:

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  • HP is going to launch this alongside the HP TouchPad model that’s headed for AT&T.
  • AT&T and Verizon will carry it but sell it at an extremely discounted price, say $100. Not even sure it’s worth releasing at that point.
  • HP will release an unlocked model of the device.
  • They won’t release it at all instead opting to announce something at next year’s CES.

No carrier is going to dedicate a full-fledged launch to this phone. Maybe if it had come out at some point at the beginning of summer but with a new iPhone, a Galaxy S II and 4G LTE phones looming in the distance, selling this phone is a near impossible task to undertake. I absolutely love webOS. In fact, I enjoyed the original Palm Pre a great deal but it’s pretty darn obvious that Leo Apotheker, Jon Rubinstein didn’t learn the lessons that should have been taken from that launch.

With the market as cutthroat as it is right now, you need something special to compete, and a late-to-the-party Pre 3 is unfortunately not that device.

“And gone will be the days when HP announces a product to great fanfare, and then nothing happens because the product will not hit the shelves until many months later when the buzz is forgotten and the technology ever so slightly-out-of-date.”

Right.

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