HP Pre 3 Makes Quiet Debut on European Market, Headed to U.S. 'Soon'

By Beecher Tuttle August 17, 2011

The Pre 3, Hewlett-Packard’s new flagship smartphone, launched in Europe on Wednesday, nearly seven months after the computer giant first introduced the webOS-powered device.

The story here isn’t only that HP launched the Pre 3, it’s also how they did it. In what Mobile Burn described as the “laziest launch for a top-tier smartphone in recent history,” HP made the Pre 3 available in its EuroStore without any marketing whatsoever.

In fact, the tech world was only made aware of the launch after users stumbled across the device on the HP website. The California-based company finally confirmed the move in a statement to PreCentral, which was the first media outlet to get wind of the Pre 3’s European debut.

“HP is excited to begin its regional rollout of Pre3, the only phone today that offers users a slide-out keyboard coupled with a large touchscreen and the fastest speed (1.4GHz processor – the fastest on the market). We expect to share additional information for U.S. customers soon,” the company said.

Not exactly how you draw up a product introduction, but the short end of it is that the Pre 3 is available in Europe and will be here soon.

Unfortunately for HP, the Pre 3 is off to a poor start. The Inquirer has reported that the first-ever WebOS-powered smartphone is receiving minimal interest from mobile operators and retailers alike.

European carriers Orange, Vodafone and O2 all confirmed to the website that they have no plans to offer the Pre 3 directly.

So far, the phone is only available through HP or at Clove.co.uk and Expansys.com. We will have to wait and see if others jump on board if consumers start clamoring for the device…or if HP’s marketing team wakes up from their slumber.

The Pre 3 comes loaded with 3.58-inch capacitive touchscreen, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and high-end front- and rear-facing cameras. The contract-free device is retailing for $490 overseas, so you can expect a similar price point when it makes its U.S. debut.

HP better hope that the Pre 3 gets received a bit better than its tablet clone, the TouchPad, which is off to a terrible start. Best Buy has reportedly sold only 25,000 of the 270,000 HP tablets in its initial inventory.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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