Tech reporters, eager to get their hands on Palm’s (PALM) Pre smartphone — easily one of the year’s most anticipated gadgets — still have to deal with supervision.
CNET’s Bonnie Cha reports that Palm and Sprint (S), the Pre’s exclusive launch partner, are still not allowing anyone to hold the Pre with two hands. Earlier this year, they refused to let Citi analyst Jim Suva touch the phone.
CNET: Sprint, Palm, what is the deal with not being able to hold and use the Pre with my own two hands? At CES, GSMA 2009, and now CTIA, the companies have required that a Palm or Sprint representative have at least one hand on the smartphone at all times even when we’re just trying to take pictures and we’re not allowed to touch certain functionalities, and I just don’t get it. What’s the purpose? Who is it benefiting?
From our perch in New York, we’re OK with this! Mostly because there’s no Pre anywhere near us to even poke at. And it’s not like Apple (AAPL) even let reporters in the same room as the iPhone before it was ready to show off. So, no big deal. But odd.
Most important is that Palm and Sprint can still launch the Pre before the end of June, as planned.
Update: A Palm rep says the reason people can’t hold the Pre is “fairness.”
“We aren’t trying to be precious or anything. The device simply isn’t available yet, and we want to make sure that no particular person gets more time with it than others. It’s challenging to control that, and the overall experience, in a room full of people clammoring to touch it. Overall, it’s really about fairness.”
A Sprint rep adds:
“Palm Pre is still in development, and we want to make sure we show the device in the best light. We have several demo’ers onsite who have been through a few hours of traning to provide a robust view of the device.”
We’re OK with this. Again, it’s not like Apple even displays unreleased devices at trade shows.