The problem: While it’s being subsidized by carriers in Europe and Australia, Palm says it’ll only be available at its full, unsubsidized price in the U.S. — $549. Which means that few people outside the Palm/Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Mobile fan club are going to buy it.
It’s possible that Palm (PALM) just hasn’t announced a U.S. carrier partner that will subsidise and sell it — which means it could get a more affordable price tag before it launches. It’s a GSM phone, so it’d need to be AT&T (T) or T-Mobile (DT) in the U.S. Of the two, AT&T seems more likely — the Treo Pro doesn’t support the right frequency (1700 MHz) to use T-Mobile’s new 3G network, so it’d be a tough sell there. We’ve asked Palm for more information, and will update if we hear back.
But in the meantime, in the era of a $199 iPhone, a $550 smartphone that doesn’t include anti-ageing, money-printing, and time-travel features will have a hard time finding buyers.
Update: Palm’s reps say they’re “not announcing any U.S. carriers at this time so currently Treo Pro will be available in the U.S. for $549.” Which doesn’t really tell us anything: They might announce a carrier, which would substantially cut the price, or they might not. Perhaps we’ll learn more before launch.
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