Palm Pre 2 Coming to Verizon on Feb 17th?
The long-awaited, long-delayed Palm Pre 2 on Verizon may finally be a reality, according to a pair of separate photographs sent in to Engadget this morning. The elusive handset looks to be hitting the market four months after its initial unveiling this past October. After being initially promised "in the coming months", the Pre 2 will be hitting Verizon in the aftermath of the iPhone launch as well as HP's big WebOS event on February 9th.
According to the leaked screenshots and anonymous tipsters, the Pre 2 is set to hit all Verizon channels on February 17th and cost $100 on a two-year contract. This will apparently be the device's out-the-door price tag with no mail-in rebate attached, despite last week's confirmation that Verizon devices ringing in at $150 or less would still carry a mail-in rebate. There is no word on full retail pricing, unfortunately, nor if the previously rumored VZW roadmap still calls for this device's EOL after two short months of availability. Another sign confirming that this may indeed be a real occurrence is that the Pre 2 has been spotted in Verizon's in-house CelleBrite contact info transfer system
Delving deeper into Engadget's screenshot, courtesy of an indirect Verizon Wireless reseller's inventory system, the Pre 2 is stated as not supporting Mobile Broadband Connect or tethering. This could simply be a glitch in the system or a sign that HP is unwilling to subsidize the Pre 2 as Palm did the previous Pre Plus and Pixi Plus's free 5GB wi-fi hotspot feature. A report last month from Wal-Mart's internal system showed the feature as still intact. As of this writing, the free hotspot is still being offered on existing WebOS devices even as new activations.
If true, the Pre 2 comes at a critical time for Verizon Wireless WebOS fans, as the carrier has recently removed all traces of the existing Pre Plus and Pixi Plus on its retail and online storefronts. Furthermore, several discounters have recently been blowing out stocks of brand-new Verizon Pixi Plus handsets for $50-$60. Taking a quick glance at Verizon's lineup of competing smartphones at the $99 price point, the Pre 2 should still fare rather well, especially as it will be the only portrait keyboard touchscreen device in the carrier's lineup at that price point, and can ride the momentum of positive press from next week's event in San Francisco.