ATandT Palm Pre Plus to Go on Sale May 16
For AT&T customers wanting a Palm Pre Plus, the wait is nearly
over. After announcing in March that the webOS-running smartphone will
arrive in iPhone territory in "the coming months," Engadget reports that a sale date has finally emerged: Sunday, May 16.
AT&T will retail the Pre Plus for $149.99, after a $100 mail-in rebate and with a two-year service contract.
The pricing is comparable to Sprint's pricing for the Pre but $100 more than Verizon charges for the Pre Plus and $49.99 more than Verizon's charging for the Pixi Plus.
(Though a launch date hasn't been made clear, AT&T also plans to sell the Pixi Plus for $49.99, which also tops Verizon's current rate. For a limited time, Verizon is currently offering the Pixi for $0, plus, with that "purchase," customers get a second Pixi Plus free.)
To sweeten the deal, AT&T, also for a limited time, is including a free Palm Touchstone induction-based charger with a Palm Pre Plus purchase, when the phone is picked up at a corporate-owned store.
The AT&T version is also said to include a few software perks. First, it can take advantage of free WiFi connectivity at AT&T's 20,000-plus hotspots, using an automatic hand-off feature. Second, an AT&T Navigator app - available for a monthly fee - will offer turn-by-turn directions. There's also an AT&T Address Book that synchronizes online contacts to the device and YPMobile, for searching local Yellow Pages.
Whether AT&T will have better luck than Sprint or Verizon have had in moving the Palm smartphone remains to be seen - particularly as, at AT&T, the Pre Plus will compete directly with the highly desirable Apple iPhone.
In a ChangeWave survey published May 4, Verizon Wireless customers were reported to be the most satisfied mobile subscribers in the U.S., though more than half expressed interest in purchasing the smartphone only available to AT&T customers - the iPhone.
And indeed, the iPhone appears to be responsible for a considerable portion of AT&T's customer base. While AT&T had the very lowest customer satisfaction rating in the industry - and in fact the lowest rating ChangeWave has ever recorded - its churn rates are, currently, nearly identical to those of the number-one-rated Verizon.
Before PC-maker Hewlett-Packard's April 28 announced that it was purchasing Palm, the smartphone maker was said to be at work on two additional devices. Whether those will still emerge is unclear, though HP is rumored to have a tablet in the works that will likewise run webOS, instead of Microsoft's Windows 7, and could perhaps help to grow an audience for the mobile platform.
There's no word yet on an AT&T launch date for the Palm Pixi Plus.