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Palm Pre breaks Sprint sales records

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Palm Pre has arrived in America, and now that the lines have dispersed and as the buzz dies down, folks are eager to know if the smart phone debut was a victory rally or Palm's swan song.

Neither Sprint nor Palm are discussing specific sales figures, but the former announced Pre's debut broke first-day and first-weekend sales records for a Sprint device.

"Sprint is a very different company than it was 12 months ago," Sprint CEO Dan Hesse stated in the release. "Palm Pre is the coming-out party for the new Sprint."

Fabulous. So one must head to the affable world of analyst speculation for numbers.

The Wall Street Journal cites one such analyst who pegs the sales figures at somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 units sold. Meanwhile, a J.P. Morgan report estimates more than 50,000 units were punted in the first two days.

Over at the official Palm blog, it's claimed more than 150,000 apps were downloaded on the first day the Pre was available. Because each app was free, we can perform some additional baseless conjecture on units sold.

If each customer downloaded:
2 apps apiece: 75,000 units.
3 apps apiece: 50,000 units.
4 apps apiece: 37,500 units.

A 50,000+ figure therefore, seems an entirely safe bet.

The general consensus is that Pre sales were very strong — just not on the level of Apple's ubiquitous iPhone. To compare, Apple sold about 146,000 of the original iPhone in its first weekend.

Yet, initial hype isn't everything. If Palm and Sprint can maintain interest in the phone, things could be looking up again for the ailing Palm. Because the phone's debut was likely limited by Palm's ability (financial and otherwise) to produce units, an accurate estimate of the company's fate will arrive in the months ahead. ®

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