Pixi on Sale: Do You Care?

Almost as good, though not as fast, as the Pre, the Palm Pixi went on sale this weekend. The device has an exposed keyboard and various skins that will appeal to a younger audience. The Pre has been discounted to $150 so that the Pixi is no longer significantly cheaper than its bigger sibling, as it once was.

The early buzz around the Pre and Palm has been almost totally obscured by Android and the Droid vs. iPhone thread. 

Still the Pixi should appeal to Sprint customers (chiefly women) looking to upgrade to a Web-friendly device from a feature phone. The NYTimes this weekend, to coicide with the Pixi launch offered a long feature on Palm:

A lack of traction could prove important. If the market will have room only for a few smartphone standards, Palm, as the smallest company, could well find itself struggling as the perpetual also-ran.

Jon Rubinstein, Palm’s chief executive who was the top Apple engineer and the first head of its iPod division, said in an interview that Palm does not need to be as big as its rivals to thrive. His former employer, after all, was long able to carve out a lucrative niche in the computer business.

“One of the key things we need to do as a company is to get to scale,” he said. “We need to bring on more carriers and more regions.”

Analysts expect that Palm will sell an upgraded version of the Pre with Verizon early next year and add AT&T later in the year. It sells phones in six countries and is steadily expanding to others in Europe and North America.

After Palm's new devices roll out to a few more carriers in the US and internationally, we'll see if the company is able to remain independent or becomes takeover bait for Microsoft or Nokia. Wall Street thinks that Palm will eventually be taken over. I would tend to agree . . .