Carrier O2 Confirms October Release in U.K. for Palm Pre

O2 announces it will be the exclusive distributor of the Palm Pre smartphone when it hits the British market on Oct. 16.

Telef??nica Europe subsidiary O2 has announced the Palm Pre smartphone will be available in the U.K. starting Oct. 16 exclusively on the O2 network.

Palm Pre is free to O2 customers taking out a 24-month contract; for customers taking a 24-month or 18-month contract, it will cost ???44.05 ($72.00) or ???73.41 ($120.14) per month, respectively. The company said all customers will receive unlimited U.K. data browsing over O2's HSDPA network and unlimited access to 7,500 Wi-Fi hot spots through both The Cloud and BT Openzone, a network of Wi-Fi hot spots deployed by British Telecom.

The Palm Pre will be sold with accessories such as the Palm Touchstone charging dock, which allows connectionless charging of your Palm webOS phone. The Touchstone is based on inductive technology inside the charging dock that allows users to charge the handset without connecting a wire directly to it. The Touchstone and back cover will retail at ???44.11 ($72.05), according to a company release.

For businesses professionals, O2 said the Pre will be available on current O2 business tariffs as a monthly bolt on, with the device available for free to account holders on all business tariffs from ???30.91 ($50.58) on a 24- or 36-month contract. Business customers can receive the same benefits as existing O2 business customers, including unlimited calls between O2 customers, unlimited calls to 10 landlines, sharable minutes and texts between users, plus multiuser billing and activation and free, 24/7 access to business customer care specialists.

"There's a lot of excitement about Palm Pre in Europe as we continue to expand Palm webOS products across new carriers and countries," said Jon Rubinstein chairman and CEO of Palm. "We look forward to launching Palm Pre with O2 so people in the U.K. can see firsthand how Palm webOS offers a new and better smartphone experience."

The Pre is Palm's first phone based on the company's webOS software, which brings mobile applications together in an intuitive multitasking platform. Palm webOS also introduces Palm Synergy, which brings users' information from the many places it resides into a single view of their lives.

Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefonica O2 UK, said today's announcement reinforces O2's position as the home of the smartphone. "With the addition of the excellent Palm Pre to our already extensive portfolio, we will continue to offer our customers the widest range of the very best devices on the market today," he said.