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Palm Pre debut sales only half that of Apple iPhone?

According to an article over at Bloomberg, sales of the new Palm Pre, once it is launched may only reach half of that of the Apple iPhone 3G on its debut.

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimate Palm may shift 2.6 million Palm Pre handsets in its first year whereas the Apple iPhone sold 6.1 million handsets on its debut.

According to Andy Bateman who leads the New York office at Interbrand, Palm sales fell 71% in the last quarter and doesn’t have the Apple iPhone devotee base or the BlackBerry fan base on which to draw, that and the worst economic slump in a quarter century will be the main reasons why the Palm Pre won’t achieve huge debut sales.