* To sell Pre, new BlackBerry Storm, Motorola phones
* Verizon to have Android phones on its network
* Palm shares up 8.8 pct, RIM up 3.9 pct
(Adds Palm comment on Twitter universal search, bylines)
By Sinead Carew and Franklin Paul
NEW YORK, May 28 Palm Inc's PALM.O iPhone
competitor Pre got an unexpected boost on Thursday as No. 1
U.S. mobile service Verizon Wireless said Pre would be part of
its upcoming device line-up, sending Palm shares 8.8 percent
Palm is depending heavily on Pre to galvanize its business
and regain market share from rivals such as Apple Inc (AAPL.O).
Pre is also seen as key to helping stem customer losses at
Verizon's smaller rival Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N), which is
launching the Pre exclusively on June 6.
Verizon, the No. 1 U.S. mobile service, will offer Pre in
"six months or so," company Chief Executive Lowell McAdam said
during a conference webcast.
Verizon Wireless said its phone line-up would also include
a new version of the touchscreen controlled BlackBerry Storm
from Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TORIMM.O and a new
BlackBerry called Tour. Also slated are devices from Motorola
Inc MOT.N and phones based on Android, the Google Inc
(GOOG.O) mobile system.
"Over the next six months or so you will see devices like
Palm Pre and a second generation Storm" on the Verizon Wireless
network, McAdam said. "You can expect to see us launch a steady
stream of new devices from multiple vendors."
Some analysts had worried that Palm was limiting Pre's
success by forging an exclusive agreement with Sprint, which
lasts at least until year-end, as first reported by Reuters in
February and confirmed by Sprint on Thursday. [ID:nN19369506]
As a result, UBS analyst Maynard Um said Verizon's Pre news
was encouraging for Palm investors. But the analyst predicted
increasing competition in the advanced phone market, saying
that Motorola "could be the wildcard in the smartphone race" as
it has the potential to be most aggressive on price.
"However, visibility in an increasingly competitive market
is still limited," the analyst said in a research note.
Um also said he expects other new Palm phones based on the
same operating system as Pre. For example Randall Stephenson,
the chief executive of AT&T Inc (T.N), the No. 2 U.S. mobile
service, said during a conference on Wednesday that his company
would also like to sell Pre but he did not give a timeframe.
AT&T uses a different network technology from Sprint.
The comments come ahead of Sprint's long-awaited Saturday,
June 6, launch of Pre and the expected announcement of a new
iPhone from Apple in the week after that.
Top executives from both Palm and Sprint have said they
expect Pre shortages around the launch due to strong demand.
Palm said on Thursday that the device would include a universal
search service that will let users to search everything from
their phone contacts list to popular micro-blogging site
Twitter or Web encyclopedia Wikipedia.
Palm said the device's operating system, webOS, also allows
Pre to synchronize with iTunes, Apple's popular music software,
so users can easily transfer music, photos and video to their
McAdam's announcement was also a boost for Motorola Inc
MOT.N, which has been steadily losing market share and is
pinning its hopes on the launch of a new line-up of advanced
phones based on Android later this year.
AT&T is the exclusive U.S. provider for iPhone and derives
much of its customer growth from the wildly popular and much
imitated touchscreen device.
Verizon's McAdam said that multiple device launches for the
rest of this year would ensure his company is not be dependent
on any one phone for keeping customers and winning new ones.
Verizon Wireless is already the exclusive U.S. carrier for
the first BlackBerry Storm launched by Research In Motion
RIM.TO late last year. While reviews of the first Storm were
mixed, Verizon had said Jan. 28 that it had sold 1 million
phones since the device's Nov. 21 launch.
McAdam said Verizon Wireless said Tour would be a new
upscale BlackBerry, that that company expects to sell along
with Storm in the next six months or so.
RIM had said earlier this month that it was planning a new
edition of Storm to help it push into the consumer market but
it had not announced a timeframe.
Verizon rose 32 cents to close at $29.27 and Sprint was up
7 cents at $5.14, both on the New York Stock Exchange. On
Nasdaq, Palm rose 93 cents to $11.46 and RIM's U.S. shares were
up $3.01, or 3.9 percent, at $80.30.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew and Franklin Paul; Additional
reporting by Alexei Oreskovic in San Diego; Editing by Tim
Dobbyn, Richard Chang)