Palm, Sprint accidentally offer clues to Pre's future

It looks like a GSM Pre is on the horizon; Sprint leaks info about the upcoming Palm Treo Pro; and Palm teases us with proof it's got something in store for the Mobile World Congress.

When Palm's new smartphone, the Pre, debuted at CES , many GSM users (this reporter included) were chagrined to note that the maiden device was branded for Sprint, a CDMA carrier.

Almost all of Palm's past smartphones have had both CDMA and GSM flavors, and there's no reason to expect anything different from the Pre. And, according to rumors swirling around the Internet, we'll see the first GSM Pre at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, this February.

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The first GSM device will likely be an unsubsidized and unlocked version. Internet clairvoyants are guessing the retail price for this device might be around $400. Those same sages are expecting the subsidized price from Sprint to be either $199 or $249, likely after rebates of some sort. If Sprint makes the price much higher, it risks losing out to comparable phones, like the 8GB iPhone or the G1.

In addition, Sprint on Thursday posted the anticipated Palm Treo Pro to its phones page, then quickly yanked it. Also retailing at $249, the Treo Pro runs Windows Mobile 6.1, and includes features like Wi-Fi and other goodness, but pales compared with the Pre, which is certainly right around the corner.

That again raises the question of pricing for the Pre: for $249, would you rather have a device running WinMo and a static touch screen, or an equally outfitted device with the hot new WebOS, a larger touch screen, and a whole lot of awesome?

We know Palm has something planned for MWC this year as it also accidentally leaked info in the form of a Web site that was quickly pulled down. That means that at least some of our questions will likely be answered at the MWC between February 16 and 19. Like you, we're a little anxious to see what's up.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.

     

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