Palm Pre Priced OK... Unless Apple Slashes iPhone Price Two Days Later

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Palm’s (PALM) long-awaited answer to Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone, the Pre, will go on sale June 6 for $199. Nothing surprising there: Since Apple cut the iPhone’s price to $199 almost a year ago, no company could hope to sell a consumer smartphone for more.

But Palm could get a rude awakening two days after the Pre — the phone and platform that represents the future of the company — goes on sale. One theory floated repeatedly by analysts — and semi-confirmed by BusinessWeek last month — is that Apple will introduce some sort of cheaper iPhone this year. That could come as soon as its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on June 8, two days after the Pre goes on sale.

That could either be a cheaper iPhone, $99, perhaps; a cheaper AT&T (T) service plan; or both.

But neither would be good for Palm or Sprint, which need all the help they can get.

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