Mobile operator Sprint may be hemorrhaging subscribers, cutting jobs, and losing hundreds of millions of dollars, but the company sure hopes it has a hit on its hands with the upcoming Palm pre, the much anticipated smartphone from Palm running a new WebOS operating systems and that just might—if some pundits are to be believed—give the iPhone a run for its money. The proof will be in the pudding June 6, when Sprint will offer the Palm pre for sale in the United States for $199.99, with a two-year service agreement and after a $100 mail-in rebate.
“Pre is truly a new phone for a new web-centric age,” said Sprint president and CEO Ed Colligan, in a statement. “We’re a mobile society, and we want our people, calendars and information to move with us. With Pre’s exquisite design and the unique webOS software, running on Sprint’s fast broadband network, we’re changing the perception of what a wireless phone can be.”
Of course, the Palm pre will tie in with Sprint’s mobile and data servicing offerings, including Sprint Navigation and Sprint TV services. In addition to the innovative WebOS, the Palm pre supports 3G connectivity, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and an inductive “TouchStone” charger that doesn’t require cables.
Palm is banking on the pre—and WebOS—to revitalize the company’s fortunes and once again make it a major player in the smartphone arena. WebOS offers a number of features designed to integrate both data stored on the phone and Internet-based information sources, along with combining personal and professional data into easy-to-manage layers and views. WebOS also integrates information across applications, so pre applications can intelligently access calendar, contact, messaging, and even social networking together in a coherent, cohesive manner.
Sprint has set itself up as the exclusive carrier for the Palm pre at least through the end of 2009.
Some industry watchers are expressing disappointment that the Palm pre’s introductory price isn’t below that of an iPhone or BlackBerry device; as such, the pre may initially appeal primarily to existing Sprint customers, rather than luring customers over from BlackBerries and iPhones.
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