“Palm Inc., maker of the new Pre phone, reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss than analysts estimated after sales fell less than predicted. The shares climbed 9.5 percent in late trading,” Hugo Miller reports for Bloomberg.

“Excluding some costs, the loss was 40 cents a share, the Sunnyvale, California-based company said today in a statement. That compared with an average estimate of 66 cents in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Sales fell to $86.8 million in the period ended May 31, just before Palm released the Pre. Analysts had estimated $80.1 million,” Miller reports.

“Palm introduced the Pre on June 6, a bid to challenge Apple Inc.’s iPhone and restore profitability after two years of losses,” Miller reports. “The net loss for common shareholders was $105 million, or 78 cents a share, compared with $43.4 million, or 40 cents a share, a year earlier.”

Miller reports, “‘The debut of the Pre “was a major milestone in Palm’s transformation,’ Chief Executive Officer Jon Rubinstein said in the statement. ‘We have now officially re-entered the race.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Shrooms.

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In a press release, Palm stated:

The company shipped a total of 351,000 smartphone units during the quarter, representing a 6 percent increase from the third quarter of fiscal year 2009 and a year-over-year decline of 62 percent. Smartphone sell-through for the quarter was 460,000 units, down 5 percent vs. the third quarter of fiscal year 2009 and down 52 percent year-over-year.

Total revenues for the full fiscal year 2009 were $735.9 million. Gross profit for fiscal year 2009 was $159.8 million and gross margin was 21.7 percent. The company shipped a total of 2,407,000 smartphone units during the year, representing a 25 percent decline vs. the prior year. Smartphone sell-through for the full year was 2,570,000 units, down 19 percent year-over-year.

Gabriel Madway reports for Reuters, “The Pre’s impact will be more fully reflected in the current quarter, because of its June launch date. Analysts estimate around 150,000 units have shipped so far.”

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