The wait is almost over, Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) investors. The much-anticipated Pre smartphone is set to ship on June 6.

How fitting. D-Day 2009 marks Palm's re-invasion of the market it may as well have created. Within weeks, we'll know whether the Pre is a mighty enough weapon to recapture the market share Palm has long since ceded to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry, and Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) N-series smartphones. Early evidence hasn't been encouraging.

Nor is history. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) hasn't exactly overtaken the market with its Android phones. The Big G's current partners -- Taiwan's HTC and T-Mobile, notably -- sold their 1 millionth G1 handset in April, several months after its release.

So far, only the iPhone and the BlackBerry have inspired the gotta-have-it cravings that carrier Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is hoping the Pre will provoke.

The timing could help. Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference runs June 8-12, two days following the Pre's launch. Mac watchers are expecting, among other things, a new iPhone operating system, a first look at whatever Apple plans in answer to netbooks from Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Asus, and an appearance by CEO Steve Jobs. Getting ahead of the fray should give Pre a fair shot at obtaining momentum. 

Apple and RIM, an invasion is in the works. Dig the trenches, set the barbed wire, clean the guns, and prepare the press releases -- this is the battle we've been waiting for.

Brrrrring! It's related Foolishness calling: