updated 04:00 pm EDT, Mon April 13, 2009
Palm Pre in Live Shot
The Palm Pre has been spotted in a rare glimpse of the smartphone outside of press events and has received supporting evidence that it may be available in mid-May. A set of photos from San Francisco's Bring Your Own Big Wheel Race shows two people using them outside of the controlled conditions. They claim to have been testing the Pre for "several weeks" and say that the software quality has improved enough that it won't be "too much longer" until the phone is available.
Adding to the claim is a stocking list obtained by Engadget that shows Sprint requiring the Palm Pre arrive in stock on May 16th, or the day before its just-rumored May 17th ship date. The ship date is purportedly the earliest possible window for the Pre to launch and more than a month ahead of a June 29th contingency date.
The appearances shadow a similar process which happened with the iPhone on its original launch, where testers were allowed to more publicly display iPhones in the last few weeks before the ship date and when the launch carrier began setting aside time on its retail schedule for the release. Both Palm and Sprint are known to be carefully coordinating the Pre's release to achieve a similar impact.