Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 13:17 UK

O2 signs Palm Pre exclusive deal

Palm's Pre smartphone
The Palm Pre was unveiled at the CES show in Las Vegas

Mobile operator O2 has won an exclusive deal to sell the Palm Pre in the UK.

O2 said the phone would be available in the UK in time for the winter holidays. No details have been given of how much it will cost when it goes on sale.

The Palm Pre smartphone is seen as a rival to Apple's iPhone because of its web-centred operating system and innovative interface.

In the UK, O2 has had an exclusive deal to sell Apple's iPhone handset since November 2007.

Competition time

The deal between O2 and Palm covers the UK, Ireland, and Germany.

Announced in January 2009, the Pre went on sale in the US in June on the Sprint network.

O2 will be the only UK network selling what many regard as the two smartest phones on the market right now, the Pre and Apple's iPhone
Rory Cellan-Jones
BBC's technology correspondent

At launch, the phone cost $199.99 (£129), after a rebate, and buyers were tied into a two-year contract when purchasing the phone. About 300,000 Palm Pre phones are now thought to have been sold.

On this side of the Atlantic the Pre may turn out to be more expensive than direct currency conversions might suggest.

Those who want to find out more information can register to receive updates as the official launch date nears.

The Pre has a rounded design, slide-out Qwerty keyboard and a touch screen. Many functions can also be used via gestures made on a motion sensitive zone beneath the screen.

Palm has said the operating system for the Pre has been built with the web in mind, so it automatically organises contacts and information accessed via the handset.

The web focus of the Palm Pre has led many to portray it as a rival to the iPhone. The rivalry got more intense in early June when Apple unveiled the iPhone 3GS which had a faster chipset inside.

Competition is also coming from the HTC Hero - a touch screen phone built around Google's Android operating system.



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