U.S. mobile carrier Sprint has had customers jump ship this year, and has had a hard time keeping up with other carriers, as it hasn’t had too many “must have” handsets. The big “killer app” this year was of course the Palm Pre, a handset that offered a lot of promise and mostly delivered. Sprint’s current agreement with Palm, Inc. gives it an exclusive license to carry the handset in North America.
But now AT&T and T-Mobile customers can also get a Pre, but there is a catch. Most notable is that the webOS smartphone is coming from Germany, and is being sold unlocked so it can be used with the other carriers. Some online retailers of the gray-market nature are carrying this version, which has a slightly modified keyboard, and lacks 3G support. But as it is an unlocked handset, it can be used with any GSM carrier, such as AT&T and T-Mobile.
And while other sites are highlighting the features of this handset, and even offering links to where you can find it, I’m going to take the high ground and not list those sites. First, I don’t really want to support the idea of gray-market sales. However, I will buy European DVDs and even Blu-ray Discs to watch on my region free players, this is because those titles aren’t available in the United States. Likewise, I encourage anyone to buy an import game console if they want to buy video games that aren’t released in the United States.
But in the case of the Palm Pre, it is available here. And this is what exclusivity is all about. You want an iPhone, well then head over the AT&T store. I personally think that these exclusive deals are good for business—and where I disagree with any Federal investigation that seeks to level the playing field.
Besides the fact that I don’t agree with gray-market imports, I also think it is a bad move to buy the Pre in such a way. It didn’t make sense for those who tried to jail break the iPhone, and it really doesn’t make sense with this handset. Following my own experiences with handsets (as well as those of my wife’s), handsets can go bad, malfunction or just not work correctly. What do you do when you spend $700+ (the current price by the way of the unlocked Palm Pre) if it stops working? Consider that the same handset is just $150 with contract with Sprint, or wait until next year when the handset will be available on Verizon Wireless. The point is that even if you somehow have money to burn in this economy, there are better things to buy than a handset some consider to be solid middling, just because you can use it on a carrier besides Sprint!
Verifone and Mocapay Form Strategic Partnership
This week global electronic payment solutions company VeriFone announced a new strategic partnership with Mocapay to deliver mobile gift and couponing on behalf of its customers. Mocapay will use VeriFone’s PAYware Connect gateway, which connects the company with a wider variety of retailers.