updated 10:55 am EDT, Tue August 4, 2009
Palm Pre for Bell Aug 27
Bell this morning finally committed to a ship date and price for its version of the Palm Pre that make it only the second carrier in the world after Sprint to offer the smartphone. It should ship on August 27th and will sell for $200 when paired with a typical-for-Canada three-year contract that includes at least a 500MB per month data plan. The new carrier's version doesn't vary sharply from the reference version reviewed here but, as a result, should have full HTML web browsing, multi-network instant messaging and deep integration with Facebook and Google services, including Google Maps.
The Pre is rare as one of the few true multi-touch smartphones outside of the iPhone and has a modern feature set with 3G over EVDO Revision A, 8GB of permanent storage, GPS and Wi-Fi.
Bell's deal is an exclusive in Canada and is unofficially believed to have sole rights to the Pre for six months, putting a Telus version out of reach until early 2010. In the US, Sprint's exclusivity is expected to last until the end of 2009. GSM carriers in both the US and Canada are expected to get their first Palm webOS phones in the fall with the possible launch of the Eos, a replacement for the Centro.