*This story has been updated at the bottom of this page.
AT&T customers who have been waiting to get their hands on a Palm Pre won’t have to wait much longer, according to a memo leaked to the tech Web site Engadget. The memo says that the Pre Plus will go on sale May 16, meaning the Pre will have gone from an exciting Sprint exclusive to being available on all of the Big 3 networks in less than a year.
The fervor that built around the Pre last summer was equivalent in many circles to the anticipation that built prior to the release of version two of the iPhone, yet success never came. Sales of both the Pre and its younger cousin, the Pixi, have been mediocre at best. Financial struggles led the company down the road to acquisition. HP bought Palm last week for $1.2 billion.
But while the Palm name, recognized as a pioneer in mobile devices, might go the way of the Dodo, the company’s operating system might have a bright future. WebOS – the system that powers the Pre and Pixi smartphones – could have big things ahead of it. HP has said it will take advantage of the inherent strengths of the operating system, like multitasking and applications information-sharing.
Update: AT&T confirmed this news on its Facebook page earlier this week – with a follow-up on its corporate Web site – that the Pre Plus would be available May 16 and sell for $149.99 with a two-year service commitment. Does this make sense? Verizon is selling the Pre for $29.99 and Amazon recently began offering it for 1 cent. AT&T is throwing in a Palm Touchstone charging dock if you buy a Pre at one otheir retail stores.