Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Expansys Offering Unlocked Palm Pre

Palm's experienced some much-needed success with the introduction of the Palm Pre this year. Unfortunately, that success has been limited due to Sprint's exclusivity of the Pre. Well, I've got good and bad news for AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers interested in getting Palm's first webOS smartphone. First off, gray market retailer eXpansys is now offering an unlocked edition of the Pre to U.S. consumers. This version, unlike Sprint's CDMA/EV-DO edition of the Pre, leverages GSM technology, which is compatible with America's second and fourth largest mobile operators' networks. That's the good news. Unfortunately, the keyboard layout is not QWERTY. It is QWERTZ, which swaps the Z and Y keys. This makes sense since the version offered by eXpansys is the German edition. That's a minor quibble. In addition, the German version of the Pre does not support U.S.-style GSM 3G; so users are limited to the much slower 2.5G EDGE standard when sending and receiving e-mail and surfing the Web over a carrier's wireless network. At least there's still Wi-Fi for when a hot spot is nearby. Worst of all is, perhaps, the asking price. eXpansys is asking $715, much higher than Sprint, for the Pre.


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