Report: Sprint will have Palm Pre exclusivity until the end of 2009

Sprint Nextel will have exclusive rights to sell the Palm Pre until the end of 2009, according to a report on CNBC.com.

The report, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, said the carrier, which is hoping that the Pre will be a huge hit, will have rights to the smarthone until the end of the year, giving the carrier a window of perhaps six to seven months to capitalize on the deal. The phone, which Palm is pinning much of the company on, is expected to launch toward the end of the second quarter.

Palm demonstrated a UMTS version of the Pre at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and it is expected that at least one of the other major U.S. wireless carriers, perhaps AT&T Mobility or T-Mobile USA, will launch the Pre once Sprint's exclusivity runs out.

The Pre, which uses synergistic technology to combine contact lists, email inboxes and messaging programs, is widely viewed as something Palm and Sprint could either strongly capitalize on or risk a great loss if the phone is not a major success. Palm posted a $506 million loss in December for is fiscal second quarter. Sprint reported Thursday that it lost 1.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2008.

For more:
- see this article
- see this image slideshow of the Palm Pre

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