Sprint to launch Palm Pre June 6

Sprint Nextel will launch the Palm Pre nationwide on June 6. The smartphone, which both companies hope will be a hit, will sell for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. Customers will have to sign up for an Everything Data plan or Business Essentials with Messaging and Data plan from Sprint.

The launch date has been the subject of intense speculation on the Internet and for those following Sprint and Palm. Previously, the two companies had promised that the Pre would launch in the first half of the year, before June 30.  The phone will be sold in Sprint stores and at Sprint.com, as well as at Best Buy, RadioShack and select Wal-Mart stores.

The launch date is also notable in that it comes just a day before a scheduled Apple event where industry watchers believe the company will unveil a new version of the iPhone.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said he expected there to be shortages of the Pre "for a while" after the launch, and said Sprint would not be launching a major advertising campaign for the phone early on, noting that he believes demand for the Pre is there. Hesse also touted the Pre as a device that combined the consumer aspects of the iPhone with aspects from enterprise-focused BlackBerry devices from Research In Motion.

"People have made compromises," he said. "[The Pre] is truly both a consumer and business device."

Palm insists that the launch of the Pre is not a make-or-break moment for the company, which has steadily been losing money and smartphone market share. Palm contends that the device will be the first of many running its new platform, webOS, which it hopes will revitalize its flagging fortunes. Sprint too, which has been losing postpaid subscribers by the boatload for several quarters, is hoping for a hit with the device.

The device and operating system have generated intense interest since they were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. One of the main draws to the Pre is its use of Synergy, which pulls contacts, calendars and messaging programs from multiple applications into single interfaces.

Sprint also announced pricing for the Touchstone, the Pre's inductive charger. The Touchstone charging kit, which includes the Touchstone charging dock and Touchstone back cover for Pre, will be available June 6 for $69.99. The Touchstone charging dock and Touchstone back cover also are available separately from for $49.99 and $19.99, respectively.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article

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