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O2 Confirms Palm Pre UK Launch Date

Gordon Kelly


O2 Confirms Palm Pre UK Launch Date

It feels like an eternity, but O2 has finally confirmed when we'll be able to get our hands on the Palm Pre...

16 October is the hallowed date and the Pre will be available not just from O2 stores, but also branches of (iPhone partner) the Carphone Warehouse as well as Phones4U and Business partners who are part of O2's specific partner programme. The Pre can also be purchased from O2 online at o2.co.uk/shop.

"Today's announcement reinforces O2's position as the home of the smartphone," said Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 parent company Telefonica. "With the addition of the excellent Palm Pre to our already extensive portfolio, we will continue to offer our customers the widest range of the very best devices on the market today."

"There's a lot of excitement about Palm Pre in Europe as we continue to expand Palm webOS products across new carriers and countries," added former Apple guru and now Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein. "We look forward to launching Palm Pre with O2 so people in the UK can see firsthand how Palm webOS offers a new and better smartphone experience."

So how much will this much lauded device set you back? The good news is significantly less than an iPhone 3GS. Any customer taking out a 24 month contract will get the Pre completely free while the same applies to new 18 month contracts at £44.05pm and £73.41pm price points. All contracts come with unlimited data and access to 7,500 WiFi hotspots on both The Cloud and BT Openzone. That funky contact charging Pre dock however is optional and costs a not insignificant £44.11 (though that is a £10 reduction on its RRP).

So will the UK be wooed by what - at least from my two brief sessions with the handset - is the most credible alternative to the iPhone to date? We'll find out in 3 weeks. Let's just hope the much maligned O2 data network can cope with yet more strain...


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September 24, 2009, 5:59 pm

I'll wait for a PAYG version, hope there's some way of unlocking it though, I wont leave vodafone.


September 24, 2009, 6:10 pm

I think Palm must have been mad to have signed a contract with O2 - surely an alternative operator would have pushed it far more than the exclusive owner of the iphone? Perhaps O2 offered them a bit more money up front. They will rue the day.


September 24, 2009, 6:18 pm

Yes, they must've been mad to take a massive chunk of money for no effort whatsoever...


September 24, 2009, 6:36 pm

Why is it that we now expect every new smartphone to be exclusive to one network (usually O2)? The iPhone started this nonsense, now it seems all manufacturers have carte blanche to engage in this borderline monopolistic practice. It's just not cricket I say... :(

@timple: It seems O2 want to bag all of the major smartphones, thereby eliminating most of the competition in this sector. I'm sure they handed Palm a mountain of cash for the privilege.


September 24, 2009, 6:56 pm

Like it or not, the exclusivity works for Palm and O2. Palm will have been guaranteed a level of sales by O2, and O2 gets to keep its insultingly bad iPhone pricing and tariffs in place.


September 24, 2009, 7:20 pm

Almost all of my excitement for the pre has gone :(.

I now want a Nokia N900 :).

Also that BL40 is intriguingly sexy...


September 24, 2009, 7:21 pm

I don't appreciate being lured by the prospect of owning a device with contact-charging, then learning that the feature will cost £45 extra.. No no no!


September 24, 2009, 7:24 pm

Sure O2 offered most - but it looks like a very short term decision. Customer goes into O2 shop - "I want a smart phone - I heard about something called the pre?" - O2 sales person - "well here's the iphone. It sells much better than the pre. if i were you i'd get that mate. Let me show you this latest app I downloaded from the app store..."

Its only the TR readers and the like who will persist beyond that. Its like the cricket selling out to sky.


September 24, 2009, 7:30 pm

"So how much will this much lauded device set you back? The good news is significantly less than an iPhone 3GS"

Yep, tho the same as an iPhone 3G, which I think is quite significant. And also suggests a £350 price point for the PAYG version, if that ever appears.

Not good enough 02 IMO, in direct competition with the iPhone 3G I think its going to get pummeled, if O2 were serious about marketing the Pre then they would have undercut the iPhone, but I guess since they have exclusive rights to both in the UK then they have no interest in competing with themselves.... "sigh"


September 24, 2009, 7:50 pm

@thadon - what's so good about contact charging? My braun toothbrush has done it for years.


September 24, 2009, 8:12 pm

Looks like anyone who doesn't want to go with O2 will be heading towards Android (and possibly WM if they ever get their act together).


September 24, 2009, 8:39 pm

It's being released in Ireland on the same day (also exclusive to O2), and we get completely boned in price. To get it free, you need to be on the &#8364100pm (£91) contract. The cheapest contract is &#836445pm (£40), with the Pre costing &#8364100, and that gives you jack all minutes and texts.

On the upside, we do have a PAYG Pre, but it'll set you back &#8364420 (£385) and you pay through the nose for mobile data.

I hate this exclusivity thing.


September 24, 2009, 8:48 pm

@Hallainzil: Holy smoke they're expensive contracts. Though a reasonable PAYG price, oddly enough.


September 24, 2009, 9:13 pm

@Hugo: That's the wonderfully crap world of the Irish mobile market... Yes, it's bizarre how comparatively cheap the PAYG option is. I need to see if they have some better contracts than that available...


September 24, 2009, 9:14 pm

I am surprised by people still staying with O2. Their price plans are one of the worst in this country. Looks like I won't be getting a Pre.


September 24, 2009, 9:40 pm

While we're on the subject of pricing, we don't have it much better (Canada).

We can't even get the Pre on anything other than a three year contract! And we still have to pay $199.95 for it, but at least the plans are reasonable enough; they start at $45. Add in all the usual "fees" and GST and it works out to, oh about $6000. :)

On another note, I walked into Bell World excited to try it out, and I was absolutely shocked at how horrible the keyboard was! It really is that bad. I couldn't believe how small it was. My thumb took up like six keys or something. I had to really take my time to type on it and the errors were plentiful. I could actually get used to the soft keyboard on the iPhone (I think), but this, it's just a disaster!

I can predict what the TR review is going to say now. :)


September 24, 2009, 9:47 pm

Why can't O2 stop paying millions (presumably?) for exclusive rights to over-hyped phones (step away from the keyboard, I'm including the iPhone in that...), when they could wisely invest that money in a decent 3G network spanning the British Isles... Or at the very least the south of England...

@Chris - Although I can offer no proof, I'm certain that the iPhone wasn't the first phone to be tied to a certain provider. I've had friends in the past reluctantly switch from one to another to get the handset they were after.


September 24, 2009, 11:14 pm

@timple - Just one less charging pin/port that can fill up with pocket fluff or get damaged as far as i'm concerned.. innovative solutions like that should be commonplace. I started looking at these things differently when i fell in love with the magsafe charging system on my Mac - never need to fear kicking a cable and losing the entire ensemble again..


September 24, 2009, 11:38 pm

Outside of the tech site is there much real excitement for the Pre from Joe Public?


September 25, 2009, 12:17 am

I work in Southwark in London and cannot get a 3G signal in the office anymore. In fact its got so bad recently, my iPhone normally just divert to voice mail and I get a deluge of emails, texts and message when I get close to Waterloo. A number of other iPhone users at work have called o2 to complain, one guy even got them to give him free line rental.


September 25, 2009, 12:38 am

If the Pre had launched here in the first half of the year I would own one, no doubt. Now its lack of video recording and no SD slot just makes it a no sell. Web OS looks great and I look forward to more featured phones using it but just not on the Pre...or the stupid pixie

I also hate the way O2 is snapping up all the good phones, they are apparently getting the Leo to, swines I say!


September 25, 2009, 1:53 pm

@Cub: Yeah, I'm sure you could find examples of prior handset exclusivity deals, but it seems like ever since the iPhone, the majority of major smartphones have been tied to exclusivity deals. Not exactly fair on the consumer.


September 25, 2009, 3:06 pm

Yes, I agree with most of the comments above. But there is another issue here that I find both unfair and distasteful. Since when have these preposterous tariffs and contract lengths become the norm? Have we been conditioned by the appalling value of the iPhone's packages into thinking it's ok or relatively 'normal' to enter into 18/24 month contracts at over £45 per month?

When mobile phones first became within reach of the average Joe here in the UK I was the first person I knew who owned one. The phone cost me £100, on a 12 month contract that cost £29.99 per month. Since then mobile phones have become commonplace across the planet and literally BILLIONS of people have embraced the technology. The associated volume of that mindblowing uptake will have caused production costs to plummet. I appreciate that the networks infrastructure in under more strain now and that modern smartphones are far superior devices than those huge Nokia bricks that first appeared. But -and this is a massive but- the tech and the associated costs have risen proportionally. (ie: a smartphone in 2009 is no more costly OR 'advanced' than a Huge Black Brick Mobile was in 1996.) Bearing all of that in mind, why is the consumer now expected to enter into a binding contract for 24 months? (With some tariffs -eg the Irish one above- knocking on for £100 per month!)

We've been hoodwinked by the telcos. They have very carefully manipulated public perception whilst applying stealthy incremental price increases. We've been cheated into believing we are getting a fair deal for this tech. We're not. And it stinks.


September 25, 2009, 6:07 pm

Looking around £25 a month on three with no "negotiation" needed gets you a Nokia E71 (a phone TR gave 10/10 in july 08), 500 anytime mins, unlimited 3to3 mins, unlimited texts and unlimited internet, unlimited skype..... If you pay anymore surely you have to agree to yourself it is fashion £'s you're spending.


September 26, 2009, 5:03 pm

I don't think these tariffs represent good value for money at all. Come on, the Pre is no iPhone, yet the customer is being asked to pay £100 for a Pre on a £35/mo tariff for 18 months? So £730 over the life of the contract... Hmm. I think they should have positioned the Pre a little more to the lower end. But I guess we'll see how sales work out - I mean, if O2 really do have specific sales targets as part of the exclusivity agreement then we should see pricing changes pretty quickly if things get off to a slow start.

A few of us on Talk3G are finding O2's network particularly naff at the moment, with calls sometimes taking ages to connect or not connecting at all. If the Pre is a big sales success, which is a big if given the iPhone tariffs IMHO, surely things are only going to get worse. Telefonica need to put some money where their mouth is and invest in an extensive network upgrade!

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