Palm Investors Love Pre (PALM)

Today was the day Palm (PALM) investors had been waiting for: Shares closed up 35% today to $4.45 after the company unveiled Pre, the first smartphone running its new Palm Web OS platform.

This is the platform Palm brought former Apple engineer Jon Rubinstein in to lead, and based on the photos and descriptions we’ve seen so far, it looks good.

No sure thing for Palm: There’s still a lot of execution left, and huge variables that will affect Pre’s potential success, like pricing and response from competitors like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG). Palm needs a real hit here — anything less, and Palm’s toast. (Shares are still down 50% from their 52-week high, and down almost 80% from the Treo’s heyday in early 2006.)

But today’s much better than the last few years for Palm, and the new platform should put signficant pressure on rivals like BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM), which is couning on consumers for the bulk of its growth, and Microsoft (MSFT), whose Windows Mobile looks like a dog next to new platforms like iPhone.

See Also: Palm’s New Pre Smartphone Looks Good!

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