LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Palm Inc will sell upgraded versions of its Pre and Pixi smartphones on January 25 through top U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Wireless, getting its devices into more users’ hands.
Palm had been expected to announce the deal with Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Vodafone and Verizon Communications, after AT&T Inc said it planned to sell two Palm phones in the first half of this year.
Until now, the Pre and Pixi had only been available on Sprint Nextel Corp, the No. 3 U.S. wireless service provider, and Palm has been losing market share to Apple’s iPhone and other rivals.
Pricing for the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus — carrying more memory and features than their predecessor — will be revealed closer to the launch date, Palm executives said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Palm reported disappointing demand for the Pre in its last quarterly results, but vowed to spend heavily to try and galvanize sales. Its shares have risen about 12 percent this year — after a 43 percent plunge in 2009’s final quarter — on expectations that unit shipments and user additions should rise after an exclusive deal with Sprint Nextel Corp expires.
Palm’s shares were down less than 1 percent in afternoon trade after having risen 6.5 percent on Wednesday on the AT&T news.
On Thursday, Palm also announced its phones will go on sale in France in the second quarter through No. 2 mobile operator SFR, owned by Vivendi and Vodafone.