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5/28/2009
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AT&T Wants To Offer Palm Pre

CEO Randall Stephenson says he wants to offer Palm's highly anticipated handset after the exclusive deal with Sprint runs out.

Palm Pre smartphone
(click image for larger view)
Palm Pre smartphone

AT&T will be looking to offer the Palm Pre once Sprint's exclusivity runs out, according to company CEO Randall Stephenson.

Speaking at the All Things Digital conference Wednesday, Stephenson said the second-largest U.S. carrier would like to eventually carry the Pre to bolster its lineup of smartphones that includes the popular iPhone, BlackBerry Bold, and HTC Fuze.

"Would I like to see that on our network some day? Of course I would," Stephenson said of the Pre. "We obviously talk to all the handset manufacturers. We want a broad selection of devices in the lineup. That's important."

The Pre is poised to be launched June 6, and it will likely be marketed as Sprint's flagship handset to combat AT&T's iPhone, Verizon Wireless' BlackBerry Storm, and T-Mobile's G1. With Wi-Fi, 3G, a slide-out keyboard, and the webOS operating system, the Pre is bound to attract many new users to Sprint.

For Palm, the Pre and webOS are seen as its best hope of reclaiming its top spot in the smartphone market. The company has been hemorrhaging cash over the last few quarters as consumers have flocked to smartphones from Apple and Research In Motion, and it needs the Pre to be a hit. Having the device on multiple networks would open the smartphone to a wider audience.

Palm has not said how long the Pre will be exclusively on Sprint's networks, but a GSM version is in the works for other markets, and this version could potentially be used for AT&T. Additionally, Palm is planning other webOS smartphones that could be launched with AT&T.


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