Palm Pre to launch June 6 in U.S.

By Emily Chung, CBCNews.ca

Since January, Palm Inc. has said its Pre smartphone would be rolled out in the U.S. in the first half of 2009. Well, we're now almost five months through that six-month period. And finally, we know what the exact launch date will be within the remaining one-month window.

Sprint-Nextel, the carrier that has an exclusive agreement to offer the Pre in the U.S., announced Tuesday that the release date for the Pre in the U.S. will be June 6. Customers who sign a two-year service contract will be able to purchase the phone for $299.99 U.S. at Sprint, Best Buy, Radio Shack and some Wal-Mart stores, as well as online. It comes with a $100 mail-in rebate.

The Pre, which has received quite a lot of media attention since it was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, is set to be released in Canada during the second half of 2009, through Bell Mobility.

When, exactly?

We don't know yet, but based on the U.S. experience, we can probably expect an announcement once, by process of elimination, we've narrowed the date down to the month of December.

In the meantime, Canadian users will likely have the summer and fall to browse and mull ordinary users' reviews of the Pre and see how it really measures up against competing models of brands such as Apple's iPhone 3G and Research in Motion's Blackberry before deciding whether to make their own commitment.