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...
May 19, 2009; 12:41 PM ET
Categories: Gadgets , Telecom
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