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Palm fans, the moment you’ve been waiting for: THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH DATE. The Pre is launching on Saturday, June 6. The price is $199 (after $100 mail-in rebate) with a two-year contract.

The hotly anticipated smartphone is heading for release online at Sprint.com as well as at Sprint stores, Radio Shack, Best Buy and Wal Mart. And don’t forget to pick up that sweet Touchstone charger. It’s also going on sale for $69.99. (The phone comes with its own charger, but for those of you who tire of hooking up a cable and plugging it in, Touchstone is an extremely cool alternative. Just place the handset on the inductive charging dock, and it transfers juice automagically.)

If you don’t know what the big deal is about this smartphone: Well, where have you been? Rarely has a new handset caused this level of anticipation (and frustration at not seeing it up close). There’s a lot that Palm reimagined with this device, in particular the new webOS platform and Palm Synergy, which puts calendars, contacts and e-mail into one view.
 
  • Linked contacts – Puts friends from Outlook, Google, Facebook, whatever into one listing.
  • Layered calendars – View individual calendars or look at them all at single glance.
  • Combined messaging – All conversations with the same friend gets dished up into a combined chat-style view. (So if you started IMing, but want to reply with text messaging, no problem.)

In other Palm news, the company apparently started contacting "Real Reviewers" yesterday for their chance to check out a Palm Pre or a Treo Pro. But if you signed up for this and got accepted, you may not actually get your hands on a phone before the rest of us — however, at least your feedback stands an awesome chance of being heard and heeded. Helping shape the future of a pioneering device — well, now that's pretty cool.



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