Unlocked Palm Pre 2 Hits U.S. Shelves Amid Verizon iPhone, Android Chatter Will Anyone Care?

HP has started selling the Palm Pre 2 in the United States, a few days after launching the new device in the U.K. and Germany.

The debut comes amid a flurry of Verizon iPhone talk and, as always, chatter about Google Android-based handsets outpacing all others.

As is the case overseas, consumers in the States will buy an unlocked GSM version of the webOS-based smartphone. That means the Palm Pre 2 will work on any GSM carrier which automatically knocks Verizon Wireless out of the running. Its not known when Palm will release a CDMA-compatible Palm Pre 2.

Users will pay $449.99 for the Palm Pre 2, which comes with a 1GHz processor, webOS 2.0, a 3.1-inch HVGA touchscreen, 16GB of fixed internal storage and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

The U.S. launch comes as Palm chief Jon Rubinstein, speaking at the Web 2.0 summit, admitted his company the inventor of the PDA should have remained the leader in smartphones. But, he said, Palm just lost its way.” In 2009, Palm tried to revive its flagging fortunes by forging an exclusive deal with Sprint Nextel to carry the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi, but the strategy failed, especially as Android phones and the iPhone dominated. Such pitfalls forced Palm to put itself on the market earlier this year, and computer giant HP ended up paying $1.2 billion for the company.

Palm hopes to re-invigorate its brand and image as it takes advantage of HPs resources. But does a world in love with Android and iOS devices really care about Palm products anymore? (And we ask this noting that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said this week he thinks Android will eventually beat the iPhone as the worlds mobile platform of choice that doesnt leave much room for competitors.)

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