Palm lines up carriers to launch Pre in Europe, Canada

Expanding its attacks on Apple’s iPhone empire, Palm said today it has signed up three major carriers to introduce its Pre smartphone in Europe and Canada.

O2 will exclusively launch the Pre in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, while Movistar will launch the phone in Spain. The Pre will also debut in Canada on the Bell Mobility network in the second half of the year. The European rollouts will be ready in time for the holidays.

Palm hasn’t detailed how many Pres Sprint has sold since the device debuted on June 6 in the U.S. But the company says that the Pre broke Sprint’s previous first-weekend sales records.

Palm has been setting the stage for European expansion for months. Chief executive Jon Rubinstein said interest in the Pre has been brewing since the company showed it off at the Mobile World Congress in February.

Palm has been pushing the Pre in the U.S. as a smartphone for the rest of us. Its ads note that it costs $1,200 less to own over a two-year period than the iPhone. The Pre features a slide-out physical keyboard and a new operating system, webOS, that gives the phone a lot of computer-like functions, such as the ability to run rich applications and to handle multiple tasks at the same time.

Pricing and specific launch dates in the new territories haven’t been announced yet.

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