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Palm Pre set for European launch

The smartphone will arrive in Spain, Germany, Ireland, and the U.K. in time for the holidays, in an exclusive deal with carrier Telefonica.

O2 will be the exclusive carrier of the Palm Pre in the U.K., Palm announced Tuesday.

The operator already has U.K. exclusivity for the iPhone. It is also set to bring out an Android phone soon, in the shape of the Samsung i7500, but that may not be an exclusive release.

Palm Pre
The Palm Pre. Corinne Schulze/CNET

"We are fast becoming the home of the smartphone with the addition of the hotly anticipated Palm Pre to our already extensive portfolio," Telefonica Europe chief executive Matthew Key said in a statement. "Our customers will be the first outside of North America to experience one of the most successful mobile devices of the year."

The phone was launched in North America at the start of June, and today's Europe-wide exclusivity contract with O2 parent Telefonica marks the first foray for the Pre into the rest of the world.

The Pre is also coming to Ireland and Germany via O2, and to Spain via the Movistar network. Palm has already said that the phone will arrive in Canada in the second half of the year.

O2's pricing for the Pre has not been revealed, nor has the handset's precise release date. The operator will only say that the Pre will be out before Christmas.

The Pre is a crucial handset for Palm, as it is the first to use the new WebOS software, Palm's first new operating system since 2002. The phone is notable for its multitasking ability, which allows applications to run concurrently.

Palm is hoping to attract developers with the fact that WebOS applications use Web standards such as HTML and CSS.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London. CNET News' Jonathan Skillings contributed to this story.