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HP Pre 3 Joins the Fire Sale Bandwagon

HP is selling unlocked versions of its smartphone for $75 in European countries

HP's $99 TouchPads are getting harder to find, but another fire sale looms for the HP Pre 3 smartphone -- at least in Europe.

HP confirmed to PC Magazine that it will not sell the Pre 3 in the United States. In France and the United Kingdom, the phone will sell for $75 unlocked. The phone is already sold out in Germany.

The Pre 3 has a 3.6-inch display, a 1.4 GHz processor, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a front-facing camera. Otherwise, it looks a lot like its predecessors, with a QWERTY keyboard that slides out in portrait orientation. HP announced the phone in February, but still hadn't released it when the company announced last week that it will stop building WebOS phones and tablets.

After making the announcement, HP started selling off its TouchPad tablets for $99, a price that proved quite popular. Expect similar levels of demand for the Pre 3’s fire sale because in the United Kingdom the phone was originally priced at around $500.

If you're thinking of importing the Pre 3 when it goes on sale, keep in mind that you'll get limited coverage on AT&T and T-Mobile, with only slower EDGE connections supported on both networks and 3G in some areas on AT&T. The phone will not work on Sprint or Verizon Wireless.

Still, it's nearly impossible to get a high-end smartphone in the United States for less than $100 without signing a two-year contract. An unlocked $75 Pre 3 might be worthwhile to replace a lost, damaged or aging smartphone without committing to a lengthy service agreement.

Although the Pre 3 is getting a big price drop overseas, don't expect a fire sale for HP's Veer, which launched on AT&T this year. HP's head of WebOS, Stephen DeWitt, told All Things Digital that the tiny WebOS phone will continue to be sold, supported and updated. AT&T currently sells the Veer for a penny with a two-year contract, or $450 without one.

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