Palm Pre Launch a Stage-Managed Success, Apple Announcements Shortly

Sprint's forced Pre shortages seem to have paid dividends. Various financial analysts estimate the device sold around 100K (or so) units across the US over the weekend and sold out in most places. According to the NY Times:

Jennifer Walsh Keifer, a Sprint spokeswoman, said late Saturday that Sprint had sold out of Pre phones at a number of locations around the country and that the company was doing its best to restock stores.

This is all bogus because Sprint wanted to create shortages to make a sellout more likely. The company accordingly wanted to create the strong perception of demand to avoid negative coverage today had it not sold out. As a Sprint customer I received at least five emails on Saturday from Palm and Sprint alerting me to the fact that the Pre went on sale. But there was no specific information about where I could buy the phone. I want the Pre but I resent the manipulation of supplies for PR/marketing purposes. 

However the Pre's moment in the sun may be over as media outlets eagerly await new iPhone related announcements this morning at the Apple WWDC in San Francisco. I won't reproduce all the rumors here, there are many. If you're interested, there are a range of places online to see live blogging of the Phil Schiller keynote, including on the NY Times site

There are two proclaimed advantages that the Pre has over the iPhone in its current state: a physical keyboard and the ability to run multiple apps at the same time. The first one is actually not an advantage. It's a perceived advantage. 

I was initially very critical of the iPhone's on-screen-only keyboard until I got my iPod Touch and gained experience using it. Now I wouldn't want a physical keyboard. The Android G1 was also touted as better in some respects because of the fact of a physical keyboard. Interestingly, the forthcoming G2/ION has only a virtual keyboard. The Pre has no virtual keyboard. And although I don't have one in my hands yet, I can imagine the awkwardness of inputing queries on the Pre. 

The "cupcake" update for Android added a virtual keyboard to the G1 to rectify similar awkwardness on that device. 

The Apple keynote begins at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 Eastern. If Apple's 3.0 software update doesn't allow multiple apps to run simulatenously (don't recall if it does) then the Pre (and Android) will still have bragging rights. But I suspect there will be enough new stuff to reduce the Pre to another wannabe.