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Palm Pre launch date rumors abound

The latest rumors say the Palm Pre will launch some time in mid-March, while a CNET reader says Sprint told him mid-February.

Palm Pre
Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

Though we're only two months into 2009, it's not too much of a stretch to say the Palm Pre is the most anticipated smartphone of the year.

Ever since it was announced at CES 2009, the Pre has created quite a buzz for its functionality and interface, and in our opinion, it comes closest to rivaling the iPhone pound for pound. Of course, the question remains of whether the Pre will actually deliver, but perhaps more at the forefront of people's minds: when will it be available?

At CES, Palm and Sprint said they expect to ship the Pre in the first half of 2009 but didn't get more specific. Well, it seems the Boy Genius Report (BGR) recently got its hands on Sprint's End of Life list, which shows which products have reached the end of their life cycle along with their replacements, and according to the document, the Pre will have an in-store stock date on or around March 15 and will replace the Palm Treo 755p.

Interestingly, our friends over at Buzz Out Loud received a listener tip Tuesday stating that he got confirmation from a Sprint customer service representative that the Pre would be in stores February 15 with an suggested retail price of $549.99, $150 with a two-year contract and after a $100 rebate. (You can see the chat transcript below.)

Frankly, I'm very skeptical about a February launch. It's just too soon. During our meeting at CES, Palm kept emphasizing that the software wasn't final and that it was working on bug fixes, so rushing the out product in the next couple of weeks doesn't quite sit right with me. I have to wonder if the Sprint rep maybe confused the Palm Pre with the Palm Treo Pro, which is also reportedly on its way to Sprint.

In fact, BGR also mentioned that the End of List sheet showed the Palm Treo Pro having a launch date of February 15, replacing the Palm Treo 800w. Obviously, we'd all like to see the Palm Pre come to market sooner rather than later, but I'd much prefer a solid, final product even if it means I have to wait a bit longer.