updated 09:25 am EDT, Thu September 24, 2009
Palm Pre O2 ships Oct 13 and 16
O2 today finally committed to specific dates for launching the Palm Pre in Europe. The multi-touch smartphone should ship in the UK and Ireland on October 16th and Germany on October 13th. While prices vary by area, UK pricing notably matches the iPhone's and will give the phone away for free on any voice/data plan, which starts from £34 a month. Those who prefer shorter 18-month contracts can get the phone for free with a £44 or £73 monthly rate.
The European Pre is identical to the version launched through Sprint except for the network change to GSM for calling and HSDPA-based 3G for data. It preserves the 3.1-inch touchscreen, 3-megapixel camera, GPS, Wi-Fi and 8GB of internal storage.
Palm is leaning heavily on the European expansion as a key to its return to form, as its losses grew in its most recent quarter despite the launch of the Pre in Canada and the US; some of this stemmed from added launch and development expenses but also followed from the Pre cannibalizing sales and older models falling out of favor outside of North America.
It also marks the first time the Pre will have to compete with the iPhone on the same carrier. The CDMA version in North America is commonly thought by analysts and observers to have been hurt by its exclusivity on Bell and Sprint, both carriers with smaller, less popular networks. O2 by comparison is one of the largest and most successful carriers in Europe.