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Palm Pre headed for Europe

The Palm Pre smartphone will be available in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain, in time for Christmas.

O2 will ship the Pre in the UK, Germany and Ireland, while Movistar will sell it in Spain. The touch screen gadget is likely to carry a price premium over and above the usual Dollar / Euro / Pound conversion.

Although European carriers have a track record of heavily subsidizing handsets, customers are tied in to extended contracts which hide the real cost of ownership.

Mobile operator O2 has an exclusive deal to sell the Palm Pre in the UK, putting it in direct competition with the iPhone, for which it also has exclusive rights.

The Palm Pre runs Palm’s webOS operating system and features 3.1-inch HVGA touch screen display, slide out keyboard, a three megapixel camera and 8GB of internal memory.

No official launch date or pricing was announced by any of the companies involved beyond saying they should be in the shops in time for Christmas.