In an underwhelming Webcast today, Sprint and Palm confirmed that the highly-anticipated Palm Pre would be available with several different existing Sprint service plans, priced from $70 to $189.
But there was nothing new shared about the phone itself, nor its somewhat mysterious webOS software, nor about its final price, nor its release date (beyond repeating "first half of 2009").
The Webcast was not well received by the audience. ZDNet described the opening as a "20-minute rehash" of Palm's announcement of the Pre at the January Consumer Electronics Show." FastCompany described the interaction of Sprint and Palm representatives during the Webcast as "heavy back-petting," and the event "served little purpose." "Enough with the teasing! People want details," FastCompany's Kevin Ohannessian groused.
You can see how the Palm Pre (pronounced "pree") and the iPhone compare, based mainly on their specifications, in an online slideshow.
Whenever the Pre arrives, and assuming people can afford to buy it, they'll have a choice of bundles of minutes or an all-inclusive plan, based on Sprint's Everything Data, for unlimited data and messaging, and Simply Everything, the carrier's all-inclusive wireless package.
Individual plans will have 450 or 900 minutes for an Everything Data plan ($70 and $90 respectively), or they can chose the Simply Everything option for $100. Families, likewise, can choose from 1,500 or 3,000 minute bundles in Everything Data ($130 and $170 respectively), or the all-inclusive plan for $190. Businesses will be able to pool minutes using an unlimited plan.
Palm's January unveiling of the Pre captured a level of excitement and attention not seen since the iPhone's introduction, based in part on the Pre's sleek exterior design, a gesture-supporting touch-screen similar to the iPhone, a UI highly integrated with Web-based services, and an innovative operating system that promises to dramatically simplify application development. But Palm and Sprint have been stingy with details since.
Palm has been expanding its work with developers, and a few more details of webOS have emerged.