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O2 To Get UK Exclusive On Palm Pre?

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

But don’t expect the phones to get here till the pre-Christmas period

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Rumours suggest that UK operator O2 will get an exclusive deal on Palm’s new Pre phone – but may lose its exclusive on the iPhone, when Apple launches a new version this year.

Telefonica subsidiary O2 has done well with its iPhone deal, and the Palm Pre is getting a lot of attention on the eve of its US launch as a potential competitor to the Apple device. In the US, the Pre will be exclusively available from Sprint.

Palm is launching the device in the US before Apple can bring out its iPhone version 3, hoping for a boost in publicity and sales. Palm initially popularised the concept of the personal digital assistant (PDA), and then moved to the smartphone market where its Treo range has been successful, but needs the Pre to sell well.

The Pre introduces Palm’s WebOS operating system, and is generating interst amongst developers. It has a touch-screen comparable to the iPhone, as well as a slide-out keyboard useful for heavy email users, as well as such geek-friendly features as < a href="http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/news-mobile-wireless/wireless-charger-boosts-palm-pre-buzz-623">wireless charging.

However, UK users should not get too excited at this stage. If Palm’s launch plan goes well, there is likely to be a shortage of Pre phones in the US when it launches, and The Guardian, where we read the rumour, says the Pre may not be available in the UK for “several months” – ie shortly before Christmas.

O2 wouldn’t comment on the rumour: “We don’t comment on rumour and speculation and have made no announcement on this particular handset.” said an O2 spokesperson.