Palm Pre Plus, Pixi Plus pricing revealed

Updated versions of Palm’s Pre and Pixi phones will cost the same on Verizon Wireless as their predecessors do on Sprint.

Verizon announced that starting Monday, the Palm Pre Plus will go on sale for $150, and the Pixi Plus will cost $100, both with a two-year wireless contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. Additionally, until February 14 you can buy either phone and get a Pixi Plus for free.

Compared to the original Palm Pre, the Pre Plus has double the storage capacity at 16 GB and double the RAM. The Pixi Plus has the same specs as the original, but adds much-needed Wi-Fi connectivity. Both phones have the ability to act as Wi-Fi hotspots, which would be really cool if it didn’t cost $40 per month on top of the mandatory $30 per month data plan.

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I’m curious to see if Amazon undercuts Sprint with these phones, as it has with the original Palm Pre and Pixi. Inexplicably, Amazon sells the first-generation Pre for $80 and the Pixi for $25, both with two-year service contracts. At those rates, you could buy both phones and pay $45 less than the promotion Verizon is running, so it may be worth holding out to see if Amazon offers the same deals on the updated phones.

Verizon’s support, along with the phones’ updated hardware, could be just the boost Palm needs for its WebOS smartphones, which have sold poorly despite high expectations, especially the Pre. I’m impressed by the Pre Plus’ ability to run 50 apps at a time, compared to 13 on the original phone, and the 16 GB capacity will make it easier to store music and apps. Speaking of which, Palm has now opened app development to all software makers, which could mean an influx of apps in in WebOS’s still-sparse App Catalog.

Don’t count Palm out of the smartphone game just yet.