You know how Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) was supposed to save both itself and carrier partner Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) with the Palm Pre smartphone? I don't think it's happening, folks. If I were a top executive at Palm, I'd be praying that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) does a much better job marketing this gizmo than Sprint ever did.

Why am I spewing bile over this partnership today, and over Palm's survival prospects? Because Sprint just reported second-quarter earnings, and the Pre rated barely a blip on the company's radar.

Compare and contrast with me, Fool:

  • AT&T (NYSE:T) made a big song and dance out of the launch of the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) 3GS handset. That model alone brought over 800,000 new subscribers to Ma Bell's wireless network, comprising an impressive portion of the 1.4 million net new customers in total. Not bad for a product that launched barely two weeks before the end of AT&T's reportable quarter.
  • Verizon doesn't have a brand-new killer phone, but still added 1.1 million new wireless accounts. And a refreshed version of the BlackBerry Storm is coming up soon, courtesy of Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM).
  • And poor old Sprint? "The widespread visibility surrounding our record-breaking June launch of the Palm Pre handset gave us an unprecedented opportunity to showcase these improvements to customers as 'a new Sprint,'" said CEO Dan Hesse. That's the best he could do. There is no mention of how the company stewarded that "unprecedented opportunity" and no word at all on the Pre's sales. If the handset was a smashing success, you'd expect a bit of braggadocio here. There was none. And the Pre was on sale for nearly all of June, giving it plenty of time to make an impact.

Sprint lost about a million post-paid subscribers in the second quarter, but gained 770,000 prepaid customers to its Boost Mobile operation. After buying out the shares of Virgin Mobile USA (NYSE:VM) it didn't already own, Sprint looks destined to become a pay-as-you-go powerhouse -- while the traditional subscription business withers and dies.

I'd buy shares in Sprint's prepaid business if I could, but there's simply no way to make that sort of targeted investment today. Call me when you see a spinout announcement, will you? Thanks, dude. Just remember that holding your breath in the meantime could be dangerous.

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Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Sprint Nextel is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.