Verizon, the biggest U.S. mobile-phone service, will introduce the models this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, said the person, who declined to be named because the announcement hasnt been made public. The Pre and Pixi, currently sold in the U.S. only by Sprint Nextel Corp., will include some changes such as additional memory, the person said.
“This is Palms second chance to shine after whats been a real lackluster performance,” said Maribel Lopez, founder of Lopez Research LLC, a San Francisco-based consulting and research firm. Palm has “to prove that this platform has legs and they can do something with it.”
Palm is seeking to entice new customers after reporting its 10th straight quarterly loss last month. Chief Executive Officer Jon Rubinstein had said in December that the company planned to announce new service-provider partners in the near future. Ehud Gelblum, a Morgan Stanley analyst who initiated coverage of Palm yesterday, recommended the stock, citing the likelihood of additional carrier agreements.
Derick Mains, a spokesman for Sunnyvale, California-based Palm, declined to comment, as did Brenda Raney, a spokeswoman for Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based Verizon Wireless.
The price of the Palm phones will be determined this week, said the person familiar with the matter.
At Verizon, Palm will be competing with smartphones such as Research In Motion Ltd.s Storm 2 and Motorola Inc.s Droid, which uses Google Inc.s Android operating system. The Droid sells for $200 on Verizons Web site, while the Storm 2 costs $20 less. Verizon Wireless is co-owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc.
AT&T Inc., which has exclusive rights to Apple Inc.s iPhone, may start selling Palms phones in the first half of the year, Gelblum said. Additional carriers in the U.S. and abroad will more than double Palms base of potential subscribers to 406 million from 149 million currently, the New York-based analyst said.
Palm rose 29 cents to $10.32 yesterday in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares more than tripled in value last year. Verizon Communications, down 2.3 percent in 2009, added 15 cents to $33.28 yesterday.