Rumour mill: Vodafone negotiating exclusivity for Palm Pre

Having received plaudits from many for its innovative Pre handset, Palm is thought to be conducting in-depth discussions with Vodafone concerning a three-month exclusivity deal on a handset based upon the new touchscreen Pre operating system. The Pre device has had such an impact on the handheld market that Palm's share price has surged over 150 per cent this year--despite reports Palm's multi-touch technology might infringe on Apple's touchscreen technology.

However, confusion surrounds whether Vodafone would have European exclusivity or be limited to certain markets, or it might even lose the deal to T-Mobile which also is reported to be talking to Palm. A Vodafone spokesman was reported as saying the company was interested in the deal and how the handset might fit into its portfolio.

There are still doubts over when the Palm Pre device will first ship to Sprint--with mid-March being put forward as the most optimistic US date--which will be the exclusive provider of the first webOS-based smartphone at launch.

For more on this story:

Related stories:
Sprint will have Palm Pre exclusivity until the end of 2009 
Palm Pre vs. iPhone 3G - How similar are they?
Why the Pre won't save Palm
Can webOS reignite the Palm developer community?