Verizon's Palm pricing: WiFi hotspot service to cost $40

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Verizon Wireless will begin selling the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus--the carrier's first devices running Palm's webOS platform--on Monday for the same price that Sprint Nextel sells the Pre and Pixi. The Pre Plus will go for $149.99 and the Pixi Plus will go for $99.99, each with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. Verizon also is offering a Pixi Plus for free after a mail-in rebate with the purchase of another Palm device, through Feb. 14.

Palm Pixi plus and pre plus for verizon wirelessPerhaps the most notable difference between Verizon's webOS devices and Sprint's is that Verizon's two smartphones will support a downloadable application that turns them into mobile WiFi hotspots, thereby allowing customers to connect up to five WiFi-capable devices to Verizon's network. The service will cost $40 per month for 5 GB and 5 cents per megabyte overage, in addition to monthly service costs. The pricing is in line with the carrier's MiFi device from Novatel, service for which also starts at $40 per month.

Aside from the hotspot service, the Pixi Plus features the addition of WiFi and the Pre Plus has double the internal memory, from 8 GB to 16 GB.

The launch for Palm represents a dramatic broadening of its possible customer base. For nearly a year Sprint Nextel has been the exclusive carrier of Palm devices in the United States. And that situation appears to have been a drag on Palm. In its fiscal second quarter, Palm's smartphone sell-through--how many devices consumers actually bought--fell 29 percent from the previous quarter and 4 percent year-over-year.

Separately, AT&T Mobility also announced will launch exclusive webOS devices later this year, though the carrier did not provide any further information.

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