The road to the Real Jesusphone: Why is Sprint launching two days before WWDC?

jesusphoneFor those of you who haven’t noticed, the Pre will launch two days before the WWDC keynote, traditionally a time of great nerdgasm when Apple announces some new products but, more importantly, has been recently been announcing new iPhone hardware and/or software. The Steve-less Steve-note will happen on June 8 while the Pre will excite and entice us on June 6.

There are three reasons Sprint and Palm could have chosen this date. The first reason is the most cynical: if they launch a dog the news cycle will quickly turn to Apple and they will be spared the sad and steady clamor of angry Palm zealots. Their stock price will fall, sure, but investors will move on from their sad stink of failure and instead drive up Apple’s stock price. Then the folks at Palm will clean out their desks and go home.

We at CG love the Pre and I find it hard to believe that this will be a dog – but we have been wrong. Palm could fall into the traps that the other iPhone-alikes fell into: wonky OSes over slow UIs that turn a great experience into a good one. Here’s hoping we’re wrong.

The second reason reeks of hubris, albeit of the well-deserved variety. As we’ve seen, Palm is pretty proud of their work, as they should be. They went from zero to hero overnight and they owned CES 2009. So why not take on the biggest kid on the block? By launching two days before anything Apple is launching, they could own the news cycle. There is no concrete proof that Apple is doing anything but launching a new iPhone OS at WWDC – since Steve left it’s gotten infinitesimally easier to grab leaks out of Cupertino than it once was, which isn’t saying much. However, with something as big as new iPhone hardware you’d assume some strange Chinese site would have something on it. However: bupkus. So maybe Palm is planning to own that week.

The third and final possibility is the least likely one: Sprint ham-handed this launch for Palm and essentially ignored all outside factors and just wanted to get something out on a nice Saturday – note that they’re launching on a Saturday in order to ensure long lines and plenty of ink – in June. Carriers know how to sell commodity handsets but this is the first time Sprint has ever gotten a Handset of Desire (TM) akin to the iPhone. Maybe they just don’t know how to throw a party?

Whichever it is, the Palm Pre better be as amazing as I think it will be or else I’m totally getting rid of the Palm V I’m using now and buying an iPaq.