Palm Pre Will Come to Europe With Telefónica, Movistar

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The Palm Pre smartphone will be available prior to Christmas in the U.K., Ireland, Germany and Spain, the company announced on Tuesday.

Telefónica's O2 brand will carry the Pre in the U.K., Germany and Ireland and operator Movistar will offer it in Spain, Palm said. Pricing has not been set yet.

The Pre went on sale in the U.S. on June 6 with Sprint as its exclusive carrier. There, the Pre costs US$299, but customers can get a $100 rebate with a two-year contract and a subscription for the unlimited bundle plan.

European carriers tend to heavily subsidize handsets in exchange for customers signing longer contracts.

The addition of the Pre to O2's lineup will mean more competition for Apple's popular iPhone, which is sold in the U.K. by O2 and Carphone Warehouse. Movistar carries the iPhone in Spain.

After years of struggling to come up with a hit, Palm has found its groove again with the Pre, which some believe bests the iPhone in usability and features.

Like the iPhone, the Pre is a touchscreen device. However, it also has a sliding keypad rather than the virtual keyboard that the iPhone displays on its screen. For data connections, the Pre can use 3G networks or Wi-Fi. The Pre's operating system is the new WebOS, which Palm plans to use for forthcoming devices while retiring Palm OS.

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