Pre will be exclusive to O2 - Palm's best (and only) choice
Despite the fact the iPhone has been scientifically proven by scientists to be much better than any other smartphone, some people just won't accept the facts. You can't argue with science, folks - it puts the sun in the sky and the beat in your heart, and it says the iPhone rocks.
You may disagree, of course. Like Creationists, you may choose to deny the science and live without the Jesus Phone. Yes, the iPhone does in fact prove the existence of God. No, there are no contradictions in those last two statements. Be quiet. So what are you going to do for a smartphone, then? You're going to buy the Palm Pre, which is edging ever closer to these shores on a slow boat across the oceans.
It turns out the Pre enjoyed a modestly decent debut, selling over 300,000 handsets in the US in just a fortnight; not quite as spectacular as the iPhone 3GS shifting over a million units in three days, but then Palm hardly has the profile of Apple. And there's news on a service provider for the Pre in the UK - it's expected that Palm will this week confirm O2 have exclusive rights to sell the handset in this country.
Given the importance of the Pre to Palm's future - it's widely regarded as the company's last-gasp attempt to stay in business - it may seem a bizarre choice to hand it to O2. While the service provider currently has the largest share of the market by revenue, it'll be difficult for O2 to aggressively market an iPhone rival without harming their own sales. Perhaps Palm should have awarded the deal to Orange who, according to the Guardian, were biting Palm's hand off for it?
But pitching Orange against O2 could have been even more disastrous for Palm; O2 could have went to town with the iPhone and sunk the Pre. At least this way, by effectively placing the Pre in the hands of the enemy, O2 is accountable and can't attack it - O2 will be forced to manage the competition between the two products, perhaps to Palm's advantage and Apple's detrement.
How will O2 market the Pre, exactly? Well, given Palm's history and Pre features such as a physical keyboard, it's possible O2 will target business users rather than the masses attracted to the iPhone. Still no word on a UK launch date, but expect it sometime in the Autumn.