So, what about the Pre3? Deep breaths, people. 206
While the Wi-Fi-only TouchPad may have had a release date, we are still left with a lot of questions. Yes, we are more than happy to go digging in the garage for our tents and sleeping bags in preparation for a few nights out in front of Best Buy in a couple of weeks, but for many of us a wifi-enabled TouchPad is only the first of two webOS powered devices that we dream about one day owning (and on more networks than just AT&T). What about the HP Pre3?
While news of the HP Veer and TouchPad have continued to stream in over the past few weeks, we still have hardly any concrete evidence of when the Pre3 will be released (sometime in the summer), and on what carrier(s). It's weird - the Pre3 hasn't appeared on a single leaked roadmap or inventory sheet for any carriers, but then again neither did the Veer (nor has the iPhone, pretty much ever). If the TouchPad announcement is any sign, though, we can probably make a few guesses.
It's safe to assume that AT&T is going to, at some point, be a partner with HP in shipping the Pre3. Perhaps not right away, but eventually we should see this happening. Why? For one, the HP Veer 4G is already running on AT&T quite nicely, and the TouchPad is planned to have an AT&T release later this Summer as well. It would make sense for the device that can be paired with the TouchPad to be on the same network, at least. For two, HP has already pushed an AT&T-compatible Pre3 through the FCC.
This does not rule out other carriers, though (don't get mad just yet). A Wi-Fi-only TouchPad will still play very nicely with a Sprint Pre3, for example. It is also entirely possible that other carriers will get some thirst for the money that's flowing through every single retail store online and off and will want to strike a deal with HP to bring the TouchPad/Pre3 duo to their network. So will we see a Sprint or Verizon Pre3/TouchPad this year? Still too early to tell, but never too early to hope.
As far as a release date goes, we still do have some time left in the Summer, and the Pre3 could be right on schedule to be released with the TouchPad on AT&T's network "later this Summer". One question that keeps coming up, "Why is it taking so much longer for the Pre3 to be launched? ("I don't need a tablet, I need a new smartphone!" and "If it doesn't come to Sprint I'm dumping webOS!", and so forth.)
Without putting too much blame on the carriers, we should recognize that carrier relationships do take time. The last time we saw a Pre3 being demoed, a couple months ago, it still needed some improvements to make it the phone that HP wants to put out there. No doubt, they aren't going to send a less-than-perfect device to carriers to review, so they had to get it finished, first. All carriers are diligent with their testing, some are more persnickety than others. While we only have anecdotal evidence about how long it takes for a smartphone to pass the review process at a carrier, it almost always takes at least a few months. It's not just the hardware they're looking at (which has always seemed great with the Pre3), but the stability of the software and how well it plays with their network. It takes time.
So the mantra of the season is going to have to be patience. We know a good many of you want that most excellent new webOS smartphone. We're right there with you. But these things can't be rushed. HP's all about the TouchPad right now, and they're going to continue to be so up to the release. There's plenty of time left in the "summer," so just hold on.