Our little Pre2 received some love this week. On Friday, Skype announced that it's service was now available on Palm Pre2 for Verizon subscribers. The Pre2 now joins (finally!) the ranks of iPhone and Android devices that are able to use Skype's calling and messaging services.
From the Skype blog:
With Skype mobile built in, you can make free calls to friends and family on Skype, great value calls to landlines and mobile phones overseas, and send IMs to people on Skype anywhere in the world.
Will we see any Skype action for legacy webOS devices (i.e. the ones that most Palm users have right now)? We wouldn't count on it. But it's nice to know that moving forward, Skype will be a viable app.
Yes, the Palm/HP Pre2 finally arrived in the U.S. this week with very little fan fare. And, by "little", I mean none. It's almost as if Verizon, the only U.S. carrier with the Pre2, has other things on its plate. Say, maybe the launch of the most popular phone in the world on their network?
You'll have to search the Verizon website to find the little Pre buddy. Or just use this link. And reports from across the country are showing in-store Verizon staff to be fairly un-knowledgeable on anything Pre-related.
To add insult to injury, one of the remaining features that makes the Verizon Pre2 appealing -- free Mobile Hotspot -- is no longer. Verizon has opted to return to charging $20/month for that service.
All in all, a horrible launch by HP and Verizon.
Now, the Pre2 is NOT a bad phone! In fact, it's a great little device housing the best OS on the market - webOS. Unfortunately, a combination of bad timing, production delays, corporate mergers and uninterested carriers has resulted in a Pre that is too late to the game and too expensive for folks to care about. Well, we do CARE about it, it's just that who wants to sign up for a 2-year contract when we have seen glimpses of Pre3 goodness set to arrive before Fall 2011?
Prediction. The Verizon Pre2 will be heavily discounted within a few weeks; and become extremely affordable off-contract by April. Much like we are seeing with the Palm Pixi now. Verizon and HP will want to move inventory before the launch of Pre3 and Veer.
Bottom Line. Pre2 is a great device, a much-needed upgrade from Pre Plus (and minus), AND it is the only way for us to get our hands on webOS 2.o until new devices come out. But, plopping down cash and signing a 2-year contract for a phone that will be shoved off the stage in 4-6 months is too much to swallow.
Well, so much for a 'focused' media event for webOS on February 9!
In an attempt to escape the craziness that is CES (and the announcement of 50+ new tablets!), HP/Palm scheduled a February 9 media event to introduce their new webOS devices for 2011. This morning, Verizon announced that their long-awaited iPhone launch date is February 10. Coincidence? Bold marketing strategy?
Naturally, everything that HP/Palm unveil will be held under the light of the iPhone launch. Expect questions like "is Palm too late to the game?" and "how does Palm stack up to iPhone?" As we all know, the media have a sick fixation with all things iPhone, and it will indeed drive the media buzz for the entire week.
Fortunately, I live in "glass half full" land, and see it as a great opportunity to actually answer those questions with a compelling presentation and detailed road map by the folks at HP/Palm. Let's hope they are up to the game...
Those "Coming Months" that HP/Palm keeps talking about maybe finally close at hand. According to our friends at PreCentral.net, the Palm Pre 2 for Verizon has possibly shown up in Best Buy's inventory system. The off-contract (retail) price is listed as $500.
However, no confirmation from HP/Palm or Verizon. And no word on an actual release date or contract price. But, usually when something pops up in the inventory system at Best Buy, it is only a matter of a few weeks or less before an actual product is on the shelves. Let's hope!
It will sure be nice to see our beloved Palm devices back on the retail shelves again and back in the competitive marketplace. But the delayed timing is likely to frustrate the faithful Verizon Palm Pre Plus users!
Will they upgrade to the Pre2? Or sit it out, waiting for the so-called "aggressive" release of new Palm devices in 2011? What will you do?
It will be very interesting, over the course of the next few months, to learn the reasons for the delayed introduction into the U.S. marketplace. But, regardless, it looks like some more Palm "newness" is coming ashore!
It's getting a little trickier to find, but you CAN still get the $14.95 Palm Pre Accessories Bundle at the Verizon Wireless website. This includes a brand new Touchstone, car charger, and a pretty decent holster for your Pre or Pre Plus.
We're assuming that these touchstones will also work on the forthcoming Pre2, so now is a great time to grab a few extras for future use!
You can not find this bundle just by searching or browsing. Here's how we did it.
2. You might be asked to key in your zip code. If so, key it in and then copy/paste the link again.
3. You should see the bundle at the top of the list. It looks like this:
That's it! Now act fast because we're not sure how much longer this deal will be available, as the Pre Plus has been EOL'd by Verizon.
Happy Touchstone Shopping!