Sprint to get Pre 3 after all? [rumor and speculation] | webOS Nation

Sprint to get Pre 3 after all? [rumor and speculation]

by Derek Kessler Thu, 12 May 2011 9:11 am EDT

There’s been some speculation that the “V” at the end of the FCC ID for the CDMA+GSM HP Pre 3 meant Verizon. We can’t say that with any amount of certainty, as the straight GSM Pre 3 ended with an “N,” which we really can’t connect to “GSM” or “AT&T” in any manner. So we’ll call the FCC ID a wash (for what it’s worth, with Palm FCC IDs there was never any indication of the carrier, just CDMA or GSM – the FCC doesn’t care about the carrier, all they care about is the phone’s brain boiling potential).

So if the Pre 3 world phone isn’t necessarily a lock for Verizon, what about Sprint? As Sprint VP of Product Development Fared Adib recently told BGR, the network has “a longstanding relationship with Palm / HP.” It’s an interesting line, as Adib deliberately injected it into an answer about Sprint’s relationship with BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion, as if he really wanted to assuage the fears of original Pre and Pixi owners coming up on their two-year renewal. But we can’t read into that too much, he’s just one VP and it was just on sentence.

Where things start to come together is when we include the dozens comments we’ve received from readers who have had discussions with Sprint customer support. Now, we’re always one to recommend copious amounts of salt when engaged in conversation with any cellular customer service reps – you, the reader, usually know more about what’s going on in the cellular news arena than the person on the other end of the phone line, chat window, or email tube. But we went back through our emails and noticed an interesting trend: unlike with the Pre Plus and Pre 2, where Sprint reps often dismissed any notion of the newer webOS devices coming to Sprint, the word from the other side of the conversation has been generally positive about the Pre 3’s chances on Sprint.

In February, via phone:

“We will have it April, May, or June. I probably shouldn’t have told you that, but we will have it sometime then.”

Same month, via email:

“We keep launching new handsets. Currently, Sprint announced these handsets with HP using their webOS® 2.0: Pre3, Veer, TouchPad tablet.”

In March, via email:

“Thank you for contacting Sprint. I appreciate your interest in the HP Palm Pre 3 handset. The HP Palm Pre 3 is scheduled to be launched. However, we do not have any specific date that when it is going to be launched. Once it is launched, it will be updated on the website.”

And just this week, via email:

“Thank you for contacting Sprint.  I understand that you are interested in buying the HP Pre3 handset. Unfortunately, as of now, this handset model is not on offer. We are in the final stages of launching this phone and hope to introduce it very soon.  Once it is launched, you will see promotional campaigns related to the launch date and the features of the handset on our Web site and other promotional media.”

Of course, a collection of emails, phone call recollections, and chat logs a confirmation does not make. But it’s notable, the almost uniform consistency we found in looking back at all of our Sprint Pre 3 tips and forum posts. There are some outliers, of course, with reps saying things like there are no plans for new webOS devices on Sprint any time in 2011.

But it was that most recent email that got our hearts pumping. “We are in the final stages of launching this phone and hope to introduce it very soon.” Is it possible the Pre 3 could be coming to Sprint? Absolutely. Just because it’s a world phone doesn’t mean it’s destined exclusively for Verizon; Sprint too has a long (but quiet) history of carrying CDMA+GSM world phones.

We’ve heard rumblings that Sprint was ‘waiting for the right phone’ to follow-up the original Pre. Sprint has an impressive stable of powerful and capable Android phones, and it’s a lineup something like the Pre Plus or Pre 2 simply wouldn’t have been able to stand up against. But the Pre 3 with it’s 3.7-inch screen, bigger keyboard, 1.4GHz processor, and Touch-to-Share integration with the TouchPad (which might also end up in Sprint stores, if their selling the Wi-Fi-only Motorola Xoom Android tablet is any indication)? It could stand a chance.

Sprint and HP know there are a lot of hungry webOS users on Sprint. They may not make up the majority of webOS users out there, now that the phone is available on multiple networks in the US, Canada, and several European countries, but they’re the original and arguably most loyal webOS fans. And really, without a webOS 2.x upgrade coming to Sprint Pre phones, the only way to really “make things right” is offer to have a new phone available for those old and loyal fans - a Sprint Pre 3 may very well be that phone.

Source: BGR; Thanks to all who sent in tips!