Palm Pre Smartphone Price Cut by $50 as Pixi Debuts

After a confusing incident in which Sprint withdrew a $100 Palm Pre rebate within a few hours of posting it online, Palm announces that it will cut the price of the Pre smartphone by $50. The price cut follows the debut of the slimmer Palm Pixi smartphone on Sept. 9.

How much does the Palm Pre smartphone actually cost these days?

A day after Sprint Nextel offered and then withdrew a $100 rebate offer for the Pre, Palm announced that it would trim $50 off the price of its signature smartphone. The Palm offer coincides with the Sept. 9 release of the compact Palm Pixi smartphone, which runs the company's new WebOS software.

Unlike Sprint, which shoehorned its short-lived rebate into the Pre section of its Website, Palm announced its Pre price cut on the official Palm blog. Right now, the Pre with a Sprint contract retails for $199, but the $50 price cut from Palm brings the total cost down to $149. The deal still requires a two-year contract with Sprint.

"And here's some good news about the older sibling in the family: You can now purchase a Palm Pre from Sprint for as low as $149.99 with contract," the post on the Palm blog said.

In order to get the Pre for the $149 price, customers have to get the $150 instant rebate when they purchase the smartphone and then wait for the $100 mail-in rebate, according to Palm and Sprint.

There had been rumors about a Palm Pre price cut before the launch of the Pixi. Those stories appeared to come to fruition Sept. 8, when Sprint announced a special $100 rebate through the month of October. However, about 6 hours after the deal appeared on its Website, Sprint took down the offer and a spokesperson told the Dow Jones News Service that the offer had been made in error.

When the Pre went on sale in June, the new smartphone won a number of accolades from the industry as Palm moved to re-enter the smartphone market that has been dominated by players such as Apple with its iPhone and Research In Motion with its BlackBerry line. In addition, the company offered the Palm WebOS as a move to address its lack of solid mobile software in the face of competition from Google Android, the iPhone OS and Microsoft Windows Mobile.

However, the Pre has not helped Sprint that much. During its latest financial results, Sprint posted a loss despite calling the launch of the Palm Pre the carrier's best opener ever.

In the meantime, Palm continues to look toward business customers and the consumer market. The Palm Pixi is scheduled for release before the holiday shopping season; no price is available yet.

The Palm Pixi and its WebOS offer a number of features geared more for consumers than business users. For example, in addition to linking user information from Google, Facebook and Exchange ActiveSync, the Pixi adds Yahoo and LinkedIn integration to Palm Synergy and assembles it all in a single view.