Palm Only Sold 35,000-60,000 Pres Over Launch Weekend, Fraction Of iPhone

palm pre ces demo

Palm’s (PALM) new Pre smartphone sold out over the weekend after going on sale Saturday. That’s mostly because of supply constraints: While a few Sprint Nextel (S) stores got hundreds of Pres to sell, most stores got less than 50 phones, and some even got less then 10.

Still, analysts estimate that Sprint and Palm sold 35,000 to 60,000 Pres over the weekend. That’s very little compared to the 1 million iPhone 3Gs that Apple shipped in its first weekend last summer, but it’s not terrible. As expected, some 80% to 90% of early buyers were already Sprint customers, RBC’s Mike Abramsky estimates. He also pegs about 60% of early buyers as prior Palm owners.

Now the real test: Will early Pre buyers love their phones? Will millions of people buy them? Will developers start making more apps for Palm’s webOS?

Analysts are mostly happy with the Pre’s launch, but investors are not thrilled: Palm shares are down more than 10% today, perhaps because Apple is expected to announce a new, improved iPhone today at its WWDC keynote.

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