The life and times of the Palm Pre aged one month...

On this day last month the much-hyped Palm Pre went on sale on the O2 network in the UK. So how have things gone, how did it get there and what happens next?

This year has been quite a turning point for Palm. It had been a while since businesses had heard from the handset maker, but then it came back, better than ever, pulling not just a new device, but a whole new operating system from the bag too.

The excitement was pretty evident from all concerned back at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. Users, analysts and Palm itself was happy. But why so?

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While everyone has been going on about the iPhone for what seems like forever, there's one thing it really doesn't do: multitasking. Enter the Palm Pre. Well, at least some prototypes, promotional units, lots of pictures and some very excited users and journalists who wanted to get their hands on one.

"Palm products have always been about simplifying lives and delivering great user experiences," said Ed Colligan, Palm's then president and chief executive, back in January.

Using industry standard tech at its core, webOS blends CSS, XHTML, JavaScript and a range of other useful tools and features to offer business users both style and substance. Palm Synergy also makes life easier for business users and consumers alike by drawing together all the key information people need, such as calendars, contacts, messaging and so on, into one place for easy digestion.

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Such attributes, coupled with true multi-tasking, a full keyboard, touch screen, GPS, 3G, Wi-Fi, a sleek design and neat form factor of the Pre ensured we were impressed when we reviewed it.

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"webOS and Pre bring game-changing simplicity to an increasingly mobile world by dissolving the barriers that surround your information," Colligan added. "It's technology that seems like it's thinking ahead to bring you what you care about most - your people, your time, and your information - in the easiest and most seamless way."

Technology that thinks ahead may be a bold statement, but Colligan certainly wasn't smirking when he uttered those words. He was very serious.

The waiting game

Alas, what was also serious was just how long users would have to wait to get a sniff of the Palm Pre.

While US users were given the handset, exclusively on the Sprint network, from June this year, poor UK mobile fans had to wait even just to find out who'd be selling the Pre on these shores.

Then the rumours started and we entered a guessing game that was as much fun for journalists as it was users.

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