The much-anticipated Palm Pre will hit U.S. store shelves June 6, Sprint announced Tuesday. As expected, Palm's answer to the iPhone will cost $200, with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate.
The touchscreen Pre will be sold through Sprint retail stores, Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Wal-Mart stores, as well as online at sprint.com. While Sprint didn't detail a pricing plans for the new phone, it said the Pre will take advantage of the wireless carrier's "Everything Data" plans, which go for $70 or $90 a month, depending on the number of minutes.
The operator touts the Pre's ability to run multiple applications and Web pages simultaneously. Users navigate them via "activity cards" -- large icons on the display that can flip through or rearrange like a deck of cards. The phone also includes software for combining personal and professional calendars, contacts and email into one centralized view. Other key features include a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth with stereo support, a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and 8GB of built-in storage. Sprint is also separately offering the Touchstone wireless charger for the Pre for $70.
The Pre is launching just two days before Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company could potentially unveil a new iPhone. Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis, said a mid-May launch would have given the Pre a launch window to itself.
He called the timing of the June 6 release "unfortunate," but in keeping with Palm's promise to introduce the Pre in the first half of 2009.