Verizon Wireless is gearing up to launch the Palm Pre early next year and is also making upgrades to its network to accommodate the Apple iPhone, according to reports today.
A mysterious Palm Pre Plus is currently listed in Verizon’s internal systems, according to sources close to PhoneArena. Arrival of the Pre is expected sometime in early 2010, as Sprint’s six-month exclusivity over the Pre will be coming to an end.
It is unclear, though, what the “Plus” following the device’s name signifies. Palm is expected to concentrate on its current smartphone line-up in the coming year, and a software update for the Pre is due after CES 2010.
Sprint has reportedly sold fewer Pre and Pixi handsets than expected this year, with the total number of devices shipped at 783,000. Palm says only 573,000 of these phones were actually sold, meaning the difference remains in stores, unsold.
Also, Verizon is tweaking its wireless network, just in case Apple decides to sell the iPhone through multiple carriers, according to a BusinessWeek report. The exclusivity of the iPhone with AT&T is coming to an end soon as well, and Verizon said it is up to the task.
AT&T’s network has been heavily criticized lately because of spotty performance. Many iPhone users yearn for speedier connection, the differences being pointed out in the recent Verizon ads mocking AT&T’s network. So Verizon is now saying that it has even made upgrades to its network, in order to handle the extra traffic the iPhone would generate.
While the Palm Pre could easily show up on Verizon’s network, as Palm is looking to sell more of its devices after disappointing results with the Sprint exclusivity, the possibility of an iPhone on Verizon still poses multiple question marks: No official iPhone hardware supports Verizon’s network standards, and some bad blood may remain from the carrier’s attack on the iPhone when promoting the Motorola Droid.