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.