We still believe the launch of the HP Pre 3 is on track for late August. In breaking news this weekend it was revealed that Sprint, the exclusive carrier of the original Palm Pre in the US, would not be releasing the Pre 3 and that HP has no plans of offering any future devices on the Now Network. While the news was undoubtedly a major disappointment for Sprint webOS users, this might be the first sign that Palm finally understands the recipe for smartphone success.
Exclusive carrier launches may have worked for Apple, but the Palm Pre was never an iPhone. Limited availability combined with a delayed launch resulted in lackluster sales for both the first and second generation models. Now that HP has purchased the company and the HP Pre 3 launch is less than two months away, webOS will finally have a chance to shine.
Though the HP TouchPad fell short of our expectations, many of the issues we had with the device could be addressed by software updates (particularly the speed). In order for the TouchPad to differentiate itself from the iPad 2 and army of Android Honeycomb tablets, Synergy with the Pre 3 must headline commercials and in-store demonstrations.
It’s a simple fact that one of the HP TouchPad’s key differentiators depends on wide-scale Pre 3 availability. How could the company reach its goal of making webOS mainstream with Sprint as the sole US carrier? Android has proven that in order to achieve record device activations you’ll need an endless supply of carrier partnerships and handsets.
The endless supply of carrier partnerships begins with axing any and all exclusive partnerships. To reach the largest worldwide audience, a GSM HP Pre 3 at launch is crucial. Last week we heard HP was considering licensing webOS to other manufacturers, particularly Samsung. This would certainly go a long way in addressing the endless supply of handsets.
This one-two punch is exactly what HP needs to save webOS and turn it into a household name. While we agree with the decision to drop Sprint from the HP Pre 3 launch, removing the carrier completely seems a little rash. The CDMA market, at least in the US, represents over 140 million subscribers. HP should look to capture some of this audience with a Pre 3 launch later in 2011 after focusing on the worldwide GSM market.
Will wide-scale availability of the HP Pre 3 and licensing of webOS to Samsung be enough to save the OS? Let us know in the comments section below.