Palm Pre 2 Hits US For $450 Unlocked

HP has begun sales of the US Palm Pre 2, in this case the unlocked GSM version of the updated webOS smartphone. Priced at $449.99 and available to ship within 24hrs, the Pre 2 comes with a 1GHz processor, webOS 2.0 and a 3.1-inch HVGA touchscreen, as well as a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. There's also WiFi b/g and 16GB of fixed internal storage.

The launch follows UK availability of the Pre 2 on Monday this week, with the smartphone also going on sale SIM-free amid rumors that carriers had proved less than interested in adding the handset to their line-ups. Earlier this week, Palm chief Jon Rubinstein admitted that the company had squandered its "birthright" to the smartphone segment through lack of investment, promising a broad line-up of devices – including a much-anticipated tablet – in 2011.

[Thanks Simon!]