Hopes Rise that Palm Pre Won't be Hogtied Like Apple iPhone

Palm is readying phone for other networks -- the question is for when

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Palm Pre with its slide-out keyboard

Hopes are rising that Sprint won't have a stranglehold over the Palm Pre -- at least not as long as AT&T has hogtied the iPhone.

Palm this week quietly demoed a version of the upcoming smartphone that would run on GSM networks. Sprint runs on different technology, indicating Palm is readying the Pre for other carriers.

Now, Palm may only be preparing for a launch in European countries that use GSM tech. But a Reuters report says Sprint's exclusive agreement is at least through the end of 2009. Reuters' source wouldn't comment on next year, but bloggers are widely reading the story as suggesting the Pre would appear on other carriers next year.

Or it's all hopeful thinking. The Pre would benefit from wide distribution as it battles the iPhone. As much as the iPhone has been a success in the U.S. market, it's been hampered by its exclusive deal with AT&T.