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O2 Confirms Palm Pre UK Launch Date

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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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