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Palm bets the farm on WebOS

Has enough pennies for Pre launch, but no more wiggle room

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Palm has announced it has enough money to launch the Pre, but with a net loss for the last quarter ($98m) bigger than its revenue ($90.6m), there's not much left in the piggybank.

While Palm won’t comment on the company’s burn rate, it’s clear that everything depends on the launch of the new Pre handset - which will come to the US, tied to Sprint, some time soon. The Pre not only has to succeed, but succeed hugely if Palm is really going to spread its WebOS to a range of handsets as predicted by Edward Colligan, Palm’s CEO.

This time last year the company had a revenue of $312 million, on which it managed to lose $57 million, so things are slipping badly and the company is desperatly in need of the boost that the launch of the Pre is expected to provide.

Palm is staying tightlipped on exactly when that's going to happen – much like the London Underground, which found it's much easier to avoid running late if you stop publishing a timetable - but whatever the date is, Mr Colligan is confident the company will hit the deadline.

"I have never had more confidence in Palm's ability to bring a new product to market on time and at scale", he told investors during a call about the quarterly results, as reported by CNet. "Right now we're 100 per cent focused on getting the Pre launched and the Sprint product out the door."

Palm doesn't just have to launch the Pre - it also has to market the device as the next best thing and sell enough to fund more production. To save Palm the Pre has to be successful around the world, which means the already-demonstrated GSM version will have to get into production fast. Palm claims to already be in talks with European network operators, and it seems likely that the amount those operators are prepared to sink into marketing will be an important factor in their selection. ®

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