At long, long, long last it has happened. The Palm Pre has gone on sale across the UK.
The launch comes an incredible 10 months after the handset's original unveiling at CES 2009 where I was lucky enough to get some hands-on time and write up my first impressions. Since then we've had the US launch way back in June, the ensuing iTunes sync battle, confirmation of the O2 exclusive and even the unveiling of a second webOS handset in the shape of the budget Palm Pixi. If that wasn't good enough, Ed also published our definite Palm Pre review last week.
What can we add to all that? Not a great deal, but it is worth pointing out O2 is following the Storm 2 Vodafone model of offering the handset free on two year £35pm contracts. It is also worth slightly pooping the party to note - as a piece of hardware - the Pre really isn't that new anymore and, as Ed concluded, where the handset's weaknesses lie are largely in terms of hardware (build quality, no microSD slot, battery life, etc) rather than in the superb, multitasking webOS. The rather cool wireless Touchstone charger is also an optional extra that will set you back £44.11.
So after all this time should you continue to wait? The Pre is first generation hardware so possibly, though I suspect another six months or more of patience may be required for a 'Pre 2' while the Pixi is a lower end handset altogether. That said, the real gem here is webOS and, unlike Apple, over time Palm will expand the platform across a wide range of smartphone form factors and price brackets. So Palm is indeed back and its once desperate future now looks a lot more rosy.