updated 07:30 am EDT, Tue May 19, 2009
Palm Pre June 6th
Sprint today confirmed that it will launch the Palm Pre on June 6th for $200 on a two-year plan and after a $100 rebate. The first-ever webOS smartphone will sell not only in Sprint stores but also Best Buy, Radio Shack and Walmart. Using the phone will require either at least an Everything Data plan for home users, a Simply Everything plan, or a Business Essentials with Messaging and Data plan.
The Pre is the only smartphone beyond the iPhone to include a true multi-touch display and has a unique interface that allows true multitasking. It includes a fully accurate web browser and centers on the concept of Synergy, an approach that merges contacts from the phone, Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, Facebook and Google, letting owners call or message others without worrying about duplicates or where the information comes from. A slide-out QWERTY keyboard both keeps the keyboard out of the screen but lets owners start searching for information simply by typing at the home launcher.
Although it requires drag-and-drop loading for music and videos for its built-in 8GB of storage, the Pre has a slight edge on the current iPhone in other respects with a 3-megapixel camera, 3G over EVDO Revision A, GPS and Wi-Fi.
The company also plans to ship its unique Touchstone dock at the same time for $70. The inductive charger powers the Pre without cables and reacts to whether or not it's placed on the dock; removing a ringing Pre from the Touchstone answers the call, and putting an in-call Pre on the dock switches to the speakerphone.
Palm's launch comes a day ahead of rumored shipping and before Sprint's usual Sunday releases. It also comes just two days before Apple's planned WWDC keynote and preempts a widely anticipated update to the iPhone, which the Pre is now known to match in price after a rebate. Sprint is counting on beating Apple's device through service plans as its data services offer built-in text messaging, official GPS mapping and other features as part of the plan. The carrier estimates a Pre could be as much as $1,430 less expensive to own over two years of service than an AT&T or Verizon smartphone.