HP Pre3 Makes Stealthy Entrance Into The European Market, U.S. To Follow

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The HP Pre3 launched in Europe today, and oddly enough, HP had very little to say about it. With the TouchPad price falling like a rock, you’d expect that its intended complementary device — and HP’s flagship phone — would launch with more fanfare. But instead HP let the device land in its EuroStore and gave a short response to PreCentral, the first publication to notice its availability. Either way, the most important thing is that the carrier-free smartphone is ready to roll.

For US$490, the Pre3 can be all yours sans contract, which is a beautiful thing. Specs on this beast include a single-core 1.4GHz processor from Qualcomm, a 5-megapixel camera with auto focus and LED flash capable of video capture in 720p, and a forward-facing VGA camera for video chat. It comes with either 8GB or 16GB of storage and sports a 3.58-inch 480×800 capacitive touchscreen along with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

Speaking of keyboards, HP says this is the largest QWERTY keyboard on any Palm phone to date, so if messaging is your thing then this may be what you’re looking for. The Palm EuroStore listing doesn’t clarify whether the GSM Pre3 will run webOS 2.2 or 2.3, but if you’d rather hold out to make sure you get the latest and greatest, the FCC filing for the device promises webOS 2.3 upon the U.S. launch.