It's October 16th and that can only mean one thing: O2 have launched the Palm Pre in the UK and Ireland. Well, there are probably more things happening today, but right now we're concentrating on the webOS GSM smartphone we reviewed earlier this month. Best of all, if you hurry down to your local O2 store and are among the first 10 people to turn up for a Pre, the carrier will apparently give you a free Touchstone charger with it.
In the UK, the Pre is free on 18-month contracts from £44.05 ($72) upward, which give you unlimited on-device 3G and WiFi at O2 hotspots (and those of their partners). If you don't mind signing away a full two years of your mobile life, you can get the Pre free for £34.26 ($59) per month.
In Ireland, the Pre is free on plans €65 upward, though you only get a miserly 1GB data allowance. Still, they also offer the handset on a prepay plan for €419 ($627), which you can't find in the UK at present; when we spoke to Palm earlier this month, they told us that O2 UK are intending a pre-pay version (which will still be locked to the carrier) but they don't have a release date in mind as yet.