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Sprint backing away from Pre3, webOS in blow to HP

updated 10:55 pm EDT, Fri July 8, 2011

Sprint drops long-time aliance with webOS

Sprint is quitting its one-time hope of a completely unique iPhone rival and dropping webOS from its lineup, contacts revealed Friday night. A reliable source for This is my next understood that the carrier was not only declining to carry the Pre3 but that HP doesn't have future hardware on the platform in the known schedule. It's not clear which side had quit the other.

Neither HP nor Sprint had commented on the rumor.

The long-term end to webOS support marks a complete reversal from Sprint's attitude towards the original Palm Pre in spring 2009. At one point, Sprint had gone out of its way to get an exclusive in the hopes the Pre would be its real challenger to the iPhone and orchestrated a rare high-profile launch on June 6 2009, just three days before Apple's WWDC event. Demand was enough to trigger minor shortages, and a then investor in Palm, Elevation Partners' Roger McNamee, was convinced that every iPhone user would switch over.

The Pre and eventually the Pixi were lauded for having real multitasking and deep social integration well ahead of others. A combination of dodgy build quality in the Pre, the iPhone 3GS' superior features for the price, and a $99 iPhone 3G quickly dried up Sprint's enthusiasm, however. The Sprint exclusive also ended up being a liability for Palm as it led to the Pre and Pixi missing a chance to preempt the Motorola Droid on Verizon, leading not just to a key advantage for Motorola but arguably the crucial sales spike that catapulted Android into competition with the iPhone in the US and even worldwide.

Sprint would eventually go on to call Pre sales a "disappointment" and swung its attention to the HTC Evo 4G, an Android flagship whose design was successful enough to end a three-year subscriber drought.

For HP, the move is a hit as it loses a carrier option at a time when it needs as much support as possible to grow. Deals made even before HP acquired Palm are still paying off, as AT&T and Verizon are still onside with phones like the Veer. Many had still expected that HP's financial clout would lead to more deals, though, and it could be a symbolic lack of distrust that could prevent HP from regaining more than a modest piece of US market share.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. CmdrGampu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009

    -2

    Not surprising

    In the battle between the titans that are iOS and Android, the little guy would understandably be the first casualty.

  1. vanax

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009

    0

    comment title

    Oh my.

  1. macnnoel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    +4

    HP can do so much

    but lack the creativity to do so--

  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001

    +2

    Sprint Drops the Pre

    And is picking up the iPhone? If the rumors are true, it might explain a lot.

  1. Ixion

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2004

    -1

    What a shame.

    I've been a thoroughly satisfied Pre owner, despite its 2-year age. I adore Web OS and all that it has to offer. It is the finest phone I've ever owned. My prospects of upgrading to something new gives me a dreadful feeling.

  1. tonlon0015

    Banned

    Joined: Jul 2011

    -8

    sdfee

    Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.
    Here, there’s good news to tell you: The company recently
    launched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionable
    and welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary, please
    plut: http://www.yessoso.com

  1. facebook_Greg

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2011

    +1

    Yawn.

    I wish I could say that I was shocked and appalled, but at this point, I'm not even mildly surprised. I'm disappointed, certainly; I loved my Pre very much at one time, but that love was tainted by multiple hardware issues (I had three Pres in 2 years, all of which suffered hardware failures), sluggish app performance, and absolutely abysmal GPS functionality. When I had the chance to get an HTC Arrive for a penny last week, I snapped it up and am very glad I did. WP7 is impressive in many ways and this particular phone is a delight to use. I miss Palm's cards and the way its calendars would accordion up so you could see your whole day without huge tracts of no appointments, but for the most part I couldn't be happier.

    I wish HP/Palm the best with WebOS; it's a remarkable, original acheivement and in many ways still the most advanced mobile OS out there, but I've moved on. When the Pre3 (announced in February and not showing up for real until Fall?) finally appears, it'll be a massive non-event. The hardware specs were only so-so when announced. If they don't improve in the actual released version, they'll be at the back of the pack by that time.

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