RIM, Palm also seeing smartphone shortages?

Apple faced iPhone shortages earlier this month, and it looks like it isn't the only company running low on smartphones at the moment.

It's hard to find a BlackBerry Pearl right now. CNET Networks

Several smartphone makers are finding themselves short of product this spring, not just Apple.

A few weeks ago, Apple's retail stores were extremely low on iPhones, which at the time was attributed to a clearing of the channel before the next revision to the product brought 3G speed. But Apple's not the only company dealing with lean inventories, according to a research note from Morgan Keegan spotted by Electronista.

Research In Motion and Palm are also short on certain smartphone models, with RIM's carriers running low on BlackBerry Pearls and Palm's Treo 755p hard to find. Palm isn't expected to launch new Treos until the third quarter, which means it's depending on the low-margin Centro for business in the interim. And Tavis McCourt of Morgan Keegan says that AT&T has been almost sold out of Pearls since the middle of last month, with the next version not expected until later this week or into next month.

Is there some sort of shortage, or manufacturing problem, farther back upstream from Apple, Palm, and RIM? Apple and Palm appear to use Hon Hai, known as Foxconn, for their smartphone product, but it's not clear who is making the Pearl for RIM. Either demand for smartphones is much greater than the three companies forecast, or there's some sort of supply snafu that's affecting more than one company.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.


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