Hewlett-Packard will sell an unlocked, GSM version of the Pam Pre 2 online, according to an HP product manager. The move could generate greater sales of the new smartphone as HP looks to revive Palm and its webOS platform.
The company had previously said that it will offer unlocked versions of the phone to developers, but a company spokeswoman confirmed that HP also will sell the variant through its small-business channel in the United States, according to IDG News Service.
Speaking in a product demo video, HP Palm product manager Tim Pettitt said the company will sell an unlocked version of the device so that "if you're a GSM user that wants to have the device but don't want to have a carrier contract, then you can just buy it directly from HP.com."
Pettitt said the unlocked version will be available in the coming months, but did not disclose what the price will be or whether the phone will be able to work on both AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA's networks. A Palm spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the question.
Though a number of companies offer unlocked devices, including Nokia (NYSE:NOK), sales often lag those of devices sold through wireless carriers in the United States, likely due to the handset subsidies carriers routinely offer.
SFR launched the Palm Pre 2 in France last month, and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and an unnamed Canadian carrier (widely rumored to be Rogers Wireless) are expected to launch the device in the coming months as well.
The gadget will run the new version of webOS, 2.0, which offers enhanced multitasking, a beta version of Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Skype integration for Verizon customers and a new document viewer. As for the Pre 2 itself, it is a definite upgrade from the original Pre, though not a revolutionary change. The device features a 1 GHz processor from Texas Instruments, a 3.1-inch glass display, 5-megapixel camera and 16 GB of storage.
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