Verizon takes axe to Palm device, service pricing

Verizon Wireless slashed the price of Palm's webOS devices as well as the mobile hotspot service it offers for the gadgets.

On its website, Verizon is offering stiff discounts on Palm phones.The carrier dropped the Palm Pre Plus down to $49.99 and the Pixi Plus down to $29.99, both with a buy one, get one free promotion, according to Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney. When the operator first launched the devices in January, the Pre Plus was $149.99 and the Pixi Plus was $99.99, each with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. The price reduction may be an attempt to move some inventory that has built up over the past quarter; Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein faulted Verizon for failing to meet expectations for its launch of Palm's products in late January, but has since said the companies are working together to improve sales.

Verizon also said it will make free its Palm WiFi hotspot service. The offering, which turns Palm devices into mobile WiFi hotspots, launched in January at $40 per month. Raney said existing subscribers to the offering will not be charged.

Palm has struggled to get its smartphones into customers' hands. During the company's fiscal third-quarter earnings conference call, Palm CFO Doug Jeffries said the company had entered the current quarter with higher channel inventory, and that carriers had either deferred orders or reduced the size of orders from Palm. The move by Verizon is the latest to try and get more of Palm's devices off of shelves. In March, Verizon dropped its $100 mail-in rebate requirements for the phones.

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