You won’t find too many people claiming that the Palm builds Treos better than RIM builds BlackBerrys. Sales definitely won’t show that. So, if you are Palm and you are about to come out with your brand new shiny Treo 680 that competes directly against the BlackBerry Pearl, what do you do?
Sell it for less… CrunchGear is reporting that the price Cingular wants to set for the Treo 680 is $175 with a 2-year contract. That is a full $25 less than the BlackBerry Pearl.
The question, however, is will setting the price lower than the BlackBerry Pearl give the Treo 680 a fighting chance. I venture to say a little bit of a chance, at least in the beginning.
The cheaper smartphones get, the broader and younger the demographic that may be attracted to them gets. I believe that the Treo 680 will sell because it is cute, young girls will like it, and psychologically, parents will have less of a hard time spending $175 as compared to $200.
I can see the conversations in the Cingular store now. Parent to child, “I am not buying you a $200 cell phone.” Child to parent, “Well how about this one? It is less and I can get email on it too.” The Treo 680 is at the top end range for other multi-function mobile phones. Parents are going to be more concerned with how much the Treo costs more so than how it compares to the BlackBerry.
If Palm and Cingular really market the Treo 680, they may be able to capture new consumer users, especially the 15 to 25 crowd. If, however, the 680 follows suite for previous first run Treo devices, sales will dry up right after the holidays once the word gets out that the BlackBerry is waaay better.
My opinion is that the Palm Treo 680 will sell, but, it won’t slow down the ship that the BlackBerry Pearl is cruising on at all. If Cingular markets the Treo 680 like Motorola did the Q when it first came out, sales of the device may actually be pretty good. All “Treo” things come to an end, however. Usually sooner than later.
What do you think?