It looks like some of the oft talked about and much maligned iPhone exclusivity deals are finally starting to fizzle out — Orange UK has announced that it will be offering both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS to its customers “later this year.” As it currently stands, O2 has the sole rights to sell the iPhone in the UK. As many of you might recall however, T-Mobile was recently caught selling unlocked iPhones to its highest paying and most disgruntled customers, so perhaps it too will get in on the action in the near future. But back to Orange. The carrier has not yet released much in the way of specifics, having simply stated that “pricing, tariffs and availability dates will be released in due course.” Ordinarily we’d start to think what sort of implications this has for the American marketplace, but alas only one carrier has the appropriate bands and network technology to run the iPhone. *sigh*
As if Vodafone’s 360 H1 and 360 M1 announcement (which we’ve now dubbed the H1M1 LiMo flu) wasn’t enough smartphone excitement for a nation in a single day, Palm and O2 UK have finally gotten around to revealing that the Palm Pre will launch next month in three markets — specifically, on October 13th in Germany and October 16th in the UK and Ireland. Of course we have been expecting the Pre to drop on O2 for a very long time and for the wait, neither company seems apologetic. Perhaps the pricing structure will be enough to smooth things over: The Pre from O2 UK starts at £0 with a 24-month contract or an 18-month contract with tariffs starting at £44.05 ($71.45 USD). As happy as we are to see that our friends across the pond will be finally be able to get the Pre, we can’t help but feel frustrated that there’s been nary a peep from Palm about a North American UMTS/HSPA webOS handset. Alas — importers, start your engines.
UPDATE: It looks like the GSM Pre will support UMTS/HSDPA 850/1900/2100 MHz. Pending a more local announcement, Pre hopefuls will indeed be able to rock the handset on AT&T or Rogers 3G should they choose to pay big bucks for an imported, unlocked version. Begin the celebration… Now.