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Palm Prē Ships June 6; Next iPhone Still Up In The Air

SAN FRANCISCO -- You can stop asking me when Palm's Prē smartphone will arrive and what it will cost. As my colleague Mike Musgrove just posted, today Sprint announced that it will begin selling this device on June 6 for $299.99 (before a $100 mail-in rebate).

As usual, there are some fine-print qualifications to that deal. You'll need to sign a new, two-year contract with Sprint; if you're in the middle of a contract with the company, you'll pay more. I'm waiting to hear back from Sprint about that and will update this post when I do.

That new plan, in turn, will have to be one of Sprint's Everything offerings, which include "unlimited" data use (subject to a 5-gigabyte monthly cap) and unlimited text and picture messaging but also lump in music and TV services you may or may not want. They start at $69.99 a month for 450 minutes of weekday calling, with shared-use and unlimited-calling options available.

Taking those conditions into account, the post-rebate price looks quite competitive, considering what competing smartphones cost and the amount of interest the Prē has drawn since its January unveiling at the Consumer Electronics Show. See my first report (and a later video close-up) from that event for details on this phone and its slick, Web-connected software.

The Prē will have company in the market, and not just from the phones already on sale. Just about everybody in the business expects Apple to ship a new iPhone soon -- possibly in time for its annual developers conference here next month.

Apple, as usual, isn't saying, so it's impossible to know for sure. But it has talked at length about the features in the new 3.0 version of the iPhone's software, which by itself would offer a substantial upgrade over current iPhones' capabilities when it ships "this summer." (For instance, with this update you'll finally be able to receive picture messages and copy and paste text on an iPhone). And that can't be too far from shipping -- over the weekend, I ran into an Apple employee here who had a test version of the 3.0 software running on his own iPhone.

Bearing in mind that there are all sorts of conditions and caveats that can make a new phone seem less attractive up close, what do you think of the Prē now that it has a price and a ship date attached? And how would it compare to a new iPhone, whatever you think that might feature? The comments are yours...

By Rob Pegoraro  |  May 19, 2009; 12:41 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Telecom  
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Comments

Rob,

I officially have a job for you.

The post changed some subtle things on the front page. If you scroll down past the 1/2 way point, the text is dark black on dark blue and is completely unreadable.

In other words, the page is broken in Firefox.

Here's your job. Find out who does the content management system for the WaPo and ask them if they do this thing called "testing". For heaven's sake; Firefox is almost 1/4 of the browser population out there. Start doing some testing!

Posted by: Skeptic1 | May 19, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Um, I'm in Firefox 3.0.10, and it looks just fine to me.

More relevantly, wouldn't it have been a better idea to undercut the iPhone's price by a FEW dollars? This is a new product with a brand-spankin' new OS, likely to have short-term problems. I'm on AT&T (who is rumored to get their OWN new-Palm-OS device by the end of the year).

I still use my old Palm Zire 31, and I'm open to the new Palms . . . if only to go from two devices to one, but I don't want to pay for the Iphone AND a new data plan AND lose the ability to use my AT&T Family Plan.

Posted by: mdean3 | May 19, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

My husband would love a Pre...but not on a Sprint calling plan. The coverage where we "go" and live is horrible. So until it is either available on Sprint or affordable unlocked, count us out.

Posted by: bagend | May 19, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Update: Until is is available on Verizon, and not just Sprint....really should consider using that Preview button.

Posted by: bagend | May 19, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Just to throw in with Skeptic, I too have noticed the Post's home page issue. Just below the Multimedia 'Ribbon' (which I hate, but i digress), the formerly white background is a dark blue, with the font a darker blue and unreadable.

It doesn't seem to happen 100% of the time but it does happen frequently, at least in the past 3 days to a week. It's been on at least 3 different PC's all with latest Firefox.

Posted by: JkR- | May 19, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who sees an issue with an "unlimited data plan" being restricted to 5 gb per month?

Posted by: Alexander6 | May 19, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Alexander6, Unfortunately most of the "unlimited" plans are capped at 5GB these days. We need better consumer advocacy.

Regarding the Pre, I'm sure Palm is VERY happy with Rob for getting that overline character in there. :)

Given my zero AT&T coverage in the office, I may make the jump from the iPhone. Depends what Apple reveals next month. And/or maybe AT&T will figure out how to get an antenna in my area.

Posted by: davezatz | May 19, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Firefox has been having major issues over the last 2 weeks. Click on 'tools' and then 'error console' and while usually a short line it there, repeatedly I might add, sometimes quite a bit is there -- ugh. If after clearing your browser the problem remains, try running Super Antispyware and Malwarebytes Antimalware [both have free editions.]

Its absolutely horrible how the major antivirus programs miss major spyware items, whereas especially Super Antispyware finds a lot of viruses in addition to just spyware.

So how will then Pre stack up to the Storm and is it true, as rumored, that Blackberry will have a new device for Realtors sometime around June?

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | May 20, 2009 5:15 AM | Report abuse

Agree 100%. Someone (us? Rob?) needs to file a complain with the FTC. Calling a plan "unlimited" and then limiting it to 5 gb is fraudulent!

Thanks for catching that Rob! Appreciate that you put the "unlimited" term in quotes!

All discussions of the Pre and Sprint's plan should do so along with your parenthetical 5 gb cap!


"That new plan, in turn, will have to be one of Sprint's Everything offerings, which include "unlimited" data use (subject to a 5-gigabyte monthly cap)"

Posted by: Astrogal | May 20, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Folks: Glad you appreciate the due diligence on the Sprint bandwidth cap, but I didn't exactly break any news there. (FWIW, Verizon expressly labels their broadband plan as 5 GB.)

About the Firefox issues... I'm sure this isn't the answer you want to hear, but I'm not seeing any issues at all in my own copy of 3.0.10. One reason why might be that I don't have AdBlock installed. Because, you know, these ads help pay the freight here. (Not that I don't find some of them annoying.)

Another interesting data point about this site's browser compatibility: Friday's blog post looked right in Firefox and Safari, but not in IE 7, where the videos embedded after the jump caused the text to jump out of alignment.

- RP

Posted by: robpegoraro | May 20, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Apple sells bunches of iPod Touches. I will be waiting for a "Pre Touch", a nice Wi-Fi PDA/media player with no data plan I will ever come close to using enough to be cost-effective. That's over a grand and a half for a two-year service contract: enough to buy a new Wi-Fi netbook every year and then some. I will give up Graffiti in exchange for the real keyboard.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | May 20, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Rob

I guess that means that you are not in IE8, but IE7 for some reason ???

I don't have adblocker installed in Firefox, but I also wish that I could be completely confident that some of the Real Estate sites that I frequent, i.e., RealTown, etc., and MUCH LESS there days, Facebook could assure me they are virus and bot [?] free.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | May 21, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

I will be looking to buy an unlocked GSM Pre as soon as they become available, I just need to make sure that the version they release to the Europeans will work with the AT&T 3G network.

I can't wait to get rid of Windows Mobile, even though this isn't the old Palm OS, their web OS has to be better than Windows, and I understand I can run my old palm apps in an emulator window, if I need to. I really miss the old Palm OS, it was much more intuitive than anything else I've seen, including the G1 and iPhone. Plus, there's a great support community for Palm products. With Windows, good luck - you're on your own.

Posted by: lirelands | May 21, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Sprint is requiring customers to move from their existing plans (even if the existing plan already includes "unlimited" data, text, pics/video, etc.) because they say that the Pre is "online all of the time" and that it requires a lot of data. They claim that the requirement to use the new Everything plans is so that customers are not surprised by being unable to use a feature or get some huge bill (or a cancellation notice) because their plan doesn't support the extensive data requirements of the Pre.

I take the Metro, which means (until Sprint gets setup down there) that I'm facing that 300MB/month limit. If I need to turn off my Pre on the Metro because it's going to run me over that 300MB limit, that kind of defeats the point.

If the reason for Sprint forcing plan changes is to ensure that there are no problems due to the Pre's excessive data usage, they need to remove the caps.

Now, I get it having caps to prevent people from setting up a streaming video server. But if the device uses THAT much data, by design, we've got a problem.

Posted by: jay_em_gee | May 23, 2009 6:12 AM | Report abuse

The limit on data is only for when tethered to a computer or for computer broadband cards. Sprint insiders say that this limit doesn't apply to stand-alone phones.

Of course, Sprint reserves the right to cancel you if they regularly see 5GB data access from a phone (even the Pre).

Posted by: jay_em_gee | May 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Rob

The Firefox issues considered I backed away from 3.5 Beta 4 and reinstalled 3. again

THEN THOUGHT THAT I WOULD CREATE A ++++ LIMITED USER ++++ ACCOUNT IN XP.

++++ OUCH ++++ NEMESIS 2.0 CAME UP, ALONG WITH A BRITISH KEYBOARD WHERE TYPING @ INSTEAD TYPES ".

OK, we know about go to date,time, etc and right click, but the limited user account didn't allow me to make changes. Under Administrator Mode only US English was present

so how do you dump Nemesis. I see a 4.0 version available privately, but at the bottom of the page some 'porno' picks of your choice were available [no, I wasn't one of them THANK GOD -- LOL] but I would think twice about a download from such a site.

COMMENTS ???

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | May 24, 2009 5:47 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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