RBC Analyst Salutes Palm

Palm (PALM) won another analyst upgrade Friday as excitement builds for the Pre, its new touchscreen phone.

Slightly more confident that the hotly anticipated phone is on its way and jazzed about Palm's webOS operating software running the smartphone, RBC analyst Mike Abramsky upgraded the stock to Buy.

The latest endorsement helped push Palm shares up 7% in premarket trading Friday.

RBC joins Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse as the most recent firms to cheer the Pre. Abramsky affixed a price target of $12 on the stock Friday.

Palm has been quickly fading in the smartphone market as Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone and Research In Motion's ( RIMM) crop of BlackBerrys surged in popularity. But Abramsky says the race has just begun and that there's still "room for contenders." He likes Palm's software and hardware approach, which is similar to RIM's and Apple's.

Another factor favoring the potentially revived Palm is its allure as an acquisition prospect . PC makers like Dell ( DELL) and particularly Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) could see Palm as a good fit for entry into the growing smartphone arena.

Palm and Sprint ( S) have said they'll start selling the Pre this summer.

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