Palm Pre launches with Telefónica/O2 in Europe

There were a few leaks and rumours about this last week, but now it’s been officially confirmed that the Palm Pre will launch exclusively with mobile network Telefónica, initially in four major European markets.

Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany will get the device first on the O2 and Movistar networks, just before the winter holidays. Pricing has not been announced.

This is something of a coup since, at least in the UK, Telefónica-owned O2 already has the iPhone deal, thus making it the sole arbiter of two of the hottest phones right now. However, the Pre maybe isn’t as hot as it was pre-launch. O2 already has exclusive British rights to the iPhone including the 3GS version, giving it an edge over rivals Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 this summer.

Interestingly, the Pre could well benefit from being sold alongside the iPhone, as its iPhone-like UI might appeal to people who also want a real keyboard. Me? I’m happy with the iPhone’s virtual one, but then I’m used to it.

I’ll be checking out he Pre in real life later today. Although it’s had plenty of reviews Stateside, it hasn’t come up against the more sophisticated European mobile market as yet.