Low inventory is forcing Best Buy Mobile to launch the Palm Pre in two phases

Contrary to the naysayers, looks like those rumors about Best Buy Mobile having low Palm Pre inventory are indeed true. In fact, thanks to one of our ninjas we now know that Best Buy Mobile’s own Pre launch guide lays out a two-pronged launch: Phase 1 will be from June to July where inventory will be extremely low and marketing will be minimal. Best Buy Mobile is warning stores that “customer demand will outweigh inventory and stores may go weeks after launch with little or no replenishment.” Stores are being instructed to not sell the Pre early, not to make hold lists prior to the launch date and to limit sales to one device per customer. Sorry BBYM employees — no employee purchases until August. A ticketing system will be used to handle any lines on launch day and a running waiting list will be created when the Pre has sold out. Folks on the waiting list will get the Pre if when new shipments arrive.

Due to the low expected inventory, only 300 specially selected stores will have working demos of the Pre. The remainder of the stores will sell their entire inventory of the Pre and will not have a live phone on display. Inventory will be allotted to stores based upon their Sprint sales and their past successful launches of other high profile phones. The only good news in this launch guide is that this time of dearth is expected to be followed by a time of bounty in late July or early August when the inventory of the Pre is expected to increase. Take home message here: if you really, really want a Pre on the launch date or soon thereafter, you may have to forgo Best Buy and Radio Shack and seek out a Sprint store where Pre supplies are said to be a bit more robust.

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