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I'm sure you recall that Dieter spotted a working Pre in GSM flavor while at MWC09 back in February. And just yesterday, Dieter reported that Palm is nearing the "final stages" of deciding its strategy and partners for Europe.

As Dieter mentioned in his article, regarding carriers, all eyes are currently on Vodafone, and Palm has worked closely with them before. We had  mentioned back in March that Vodafone could be in negotiations with Palm for exclusivity on the Pre.

As the Pre rumor mill continues to turn, it seems that the winds have reached us once again. This time around, according to Crave at CNET UK, the rumor is that there is an unlocked, SIM-free, GSM version of the Pre available for pre-order on US mobile store Mobile City Online.

Being very skeptical, Crave got in touch with Mobile City Online, and were told that the Pre's were sourced from Europe, having originated on the Vodafone network. Mobile City Online claims they will ship the Pre's in September. 

Like Crave, we aren't so sure. As badly as we want a GSM Palm Pre, we suggest you stay away.  Read on.

Mobile City Online lists the retail price  as $899.99, and their 'cheaper' price at $699.99. Under that price, it states "No ETA at this time". Of course Crave heard that the Pre's were expected to ship in September.

Under Product Info we have this:

Please note: This phone is unlocked and can be used with any SIM card. No activation required (check carrier frequency requirements)

  • Carrier: AT&T (GSM based), T-Mobile, and Other GSM carriers* (*Please check compatibility with your service provider)
  • Technology: 3G AT&T Standard, Quad Band 850/900/1800/1900
  • Feature: 3+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth, Calendar, Camera, Candy Bar Form, Edge, Email Client, High-Speed Data GPRS, Megapixel Camera, MPS, Qwerty Keyboard, Slide Form, Smartphone, Speaker Phone, Touch Screen, Video Capture, Video Clip, Wi-Fi

Strange that the camera was mentioned three times, and that "video capture" was listed at all.  The last I heard, the Pre didn't "yet" have that feature.  In other words, Mobile City Online might just be looking to get a jump on things without having the full details from Palm yet.

I'd love to get my hands on an unlocked GSM Pre!  I got excited when I saw AT&T mentioned!  Who knows when we'll be getting the GSM Pre here in the U.S.  This could be very tempting to pre-order as I don't want to have to start up a Sprint account just to get a Pre.  I'm not about to leave AT&T, but I will open a Sprint account to get a Pre if I have to.  I'm not too sure about this rumor though. We're being very cautious here.

What do you think? Do you think anyone would be willing to plunk down all that dough ($699.99 at Mobile City Online) and take a chance on getting an unlocked, SIM-free GSM Pre?  We haven't heard anything official about this from Palm, so I'd hold on to my money.

Actually, for now, we're pretty much recommending that you hold on to yours as well.

Thanks to Andy for the tip!