No Verizon Pre until 2010

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Verizon stole yesterday's phone news cycle with the announcement that it would offer the Palm Pre and many other major smart phones "over the next six months or so."

Today, Sprint made it very clear: "We have the Pre through 2009."

The clarification might disappoint Verizon customers who hoped Santa might bring them a new Pre, but the timing makes sense. The schedule fits most of Sprint's other exclusivity deals. But some analysts had wondered if the Pre would be different. As CNET's Bonnie Cha wrote: "Sprint has struggled behind its competitors in offering flagship devices and probably felt the need to flex a little muscle after both Verizon and AT&T said it would offer the Pre in the future. As much as Palm is banking on the Pre as its comeback, so is Sprint."

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AT&T found great success by latching onto the iPhone three years ago, and has pushed to extend its exclusive hold over Apple's phone until 2011.

Then again, Sprint will have the Pre during two important times of the year: back to school and the holiday season. And who knows what new wonder-phone Sprint might have by then.

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