updated 12:55 pm EDT, Mon April 21, 2008
US Smartphone Shortage
Three of the most dominant smartphone makers in the US are all suffering from low supply of their devices at the same time, Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt says in a new investor's note. In addition to the still ongoing iPhone shortage, McCourt also observes that Research in Motion's standard BlackBerry Pearl has not been reliably available at retail at AT&T since March and may only begin to offer the Pearl 8120 to home users by April 24th at the earliest.
Palm is also said to be affected by shortages and has seen its Treo 755p disappear entirely from Sprint for the past two weeks. The device is reportedly to be replaced soon by either a new variant of the 755p or the 800w, but for now limits Sprint subscribers dependent on the Palm OS to the less powerful Centro. The 800w isn't expected until summer based on remarks by Palm chief Ed Colligan.
The analyst doesn't indicate any shared cause for the three companies, but notes that Apple, Palm, and RIM all appear to have been caught short in the midst of product transitions, with Apple in particular underestimating demand as it lowers iPhone shipments ahead of a 3G upgrade later in the spring.
However, McCourt also offers signs of a partial recovery for at least the Apple lineup based on observations. The iPhone maker is likely seeing "missed sales opportunities," he says, but is now able to maintain stock at roughly half of its stores. Previous checks on the shortage, which began roughly near the start of the month, had indicated that nearly all American stores were without iPhones.