Sprint Shows Pre-Posterous Timing

Sprint says the Palm Pre is debuting even closer to Apple's new iPhone than expected.
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Updated from 11:42 a.m. EDT

Congratulations,

Sprint

(S) - Get Report

and

Palm

(PALM)

, your make-or-break Pre phone has a mere 48 hours of limelight until

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

unveils a new iPhone with a cheaper calling plan.

Sprint says it will release the phone on June 6 for $199. That is a

day later than recent expectations

and far more expensive than the

$150 price tag

some analyst had anticipated.

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The Palm Pre has been considered the closest thing to an iPhone killer since

Research In Motion's

(RIMM)

touchscreen Storm touched down at

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

last year. After three years of development, the Pre is now ready for action.

Unfortunately for Sprint and Palm, the Pre debut threatens to be overshadowed by the new iPhone. Apple is expected to introduce the third version of the iPhone on June 8 at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

To add more sting to the comparisons between the Pre and the iPhone,

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

, as TheStreet

first reported

, is considering a $10 cheaper price plan. Sprint's starter plan for the Pre is $69 a month. AT&T's proposed entry level plan for the iPhone is $59. For you budget-minded tech fans, that's a $240 difference over the life of the two-year contract.

The touchscreen Pre, which has won

rave reviews

, could be the device that helps reverse Sprint's downward plunge. Sprint lost 4.5 million subscribers and swung to a $2.8 billion loss last year.

But so close to the Apple iPhone fanfare, Sprint and Palm haven't exactly given the Pre much time to bask in the smartphone sunlight.

One way to look at it, however, is that somehow stumbling Sprint didn't manage to put a $250 price tag on the Pre and delay the intro to after the iPhone celebration.