Mobile Network Operator O2 is set to launch Palm much-awaited smartphone, the Pre, on the 16th of October, nearly 10 months after it was officially launched in the US.
The phone will be available exclusively in the UK either directly from O2 or through Carphone Warehouse or Phones4U. Originally expected towards the end of October, the Pre will be available both on personal or business tariffs.
Jon Rubinstein, the chairman and chief executive officer of Palm, commented that "there's a lot of excitement about Palm Pre in Europe as we continue to expand Palm webOS products across new carriers and countries".
The main bone of contention remains the price; the cheapest tariff available is on a whopping three year contract (small business regular user) which will cost you £29.51 + VAT and provide you with 300 minutes, 50 texts and unlimited Wifi and Internet.
Personal customers will be paying a similar price to the iPhone 3G with the Pre available fro free for tariffs starting from £44.05 per month (18-month contract) or £34.26 (24-month contract).
As for the iPhone, uses will get unlimited access to hotspots from The Cloud and BT and O2 has confirmed that the Pre's wireless charger, the Touchstone, will be available for £44.11.
Other than the Apple's iConic smartphone, the Pre will also face some serious competition from Nokia's N900 tablet, various Android phones from HTC and Samsung as well as a wave of Windows Mobile 6.5 set to be launched by the end of the year.
A few weeks ago, you might have been able to buy the Pre for £399 (apparently) but this offer from Handtec has been pulled out. The Pre is Palm's last chance to challenge the iPhone and to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment. Will they succeed, by this time next year, we will probably know.