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Palm Pre smartphone to cost $299

Contract terms and deals outlined

Palm has emailed subscribers to its Pre smartphone notification service with more details on the price and contract terms for its hotly-anticipated multi-touch smartphone.

The Palm Pre will cost $199.99 after a $100 rebate and activation of the handset bought on a two-year Sprint mobile phone contract. In other words, Palm has priced the Pre at $299.

Palm Pre smartphone

Customers will need to sign up for a two-year contract in order to get a $199 Palm Pre with Sprint

In order to qualify for the rebate, customers will need to supply a valid email address and mobile phone number and to subscribe to a "select unlimited data bundle plan".

Sprint is the exclusive launch partner for the Palm Pre in the US and is expected to be the only operator to offer the Pre for several months before operators in other countries get their bite at the cherry. Other carriers have yet to be announced.

Speculation has suggested that in the UK O2 is likely to get the deal, but this assumption is based primarily on unconfirmed reports that 02's Spanish owner, Telefonica, has inked a deal to carry it.

The Palm Pre has raised much excitement for its ability to support multiple applications running simultaneously, its screen's multi-touch and gesture recognition and the fact that it can thread conversations with contacts through several communication forms from instant messages and emails to SMS messages and voice calls.

The Palm Pre is the first Palm smartphone to break away from the old PalmOS and use a newly-developed WebOS. As well as being a touchscreen, Wi-Fi and 3G-enabled device, it has a slide-down keypad that curves in to the mouth.

After much speculation by the tech community over the likely launch date, Palm finally confirmed yesterday that it will go onsale in the US on 6 June, two days before the Apple World Wide Developers Conference at which the updated SDK for the Apple iPhone is expected to be released, with the third-generation Apple iPhone likely to follow.

Despite the timing, the Pre is not expected to be a direct rival to the more consumer-focused iPhone.

The Palm Pre was originally unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

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