Palm to Offer Pre, Other Devices for Free

Palm is looking for recruits to become "Real Reviewers" of Palm phones including the Palm Pre. If you're selected as a reviewer, Palm will give you a free, current model Palm phone to try out and an accompanying data plan for six months. The only requirement is that you regularly post your thoughts about the Palm phone you're using on any blogs and social networks you frequent. Palm may also ask "Real Reviewers" to guest blog for Palm or host a discussion board on Palm's Facebook page.

To sign up, you have to fill out an eight-question survey and tell Palm a little bit about yourself. Palm is looking for information on what you do on a regular day; what your passions are; what kind of phone you are using now; how you use your phone; and what social networks you visit. To be eligible for "Real Reviewers" you must be a U.S. resident and 18 years of age or older.

John Zilber, Palm's Online Communications Director, launched the "Real Reviewer" program in a recent blog post. If you want to apply you don't have much time, as Zilber says Palm will announce its "Real Reviewers" next Friday on May 8. What Zilber didn't mention was how many people will be chosen for the program, and more importantly, how many reviewers will get their hands on the Pre. Zilber did say the company was looking for a mix of "Palm veterans and newcomers, from all walks of life" to become "Real Reviewers."

It's unclear if May 8 will be of any significance to the Pre's release, but Palm is clearly introducing Real Reviewers to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the Pre. Palm is still keeping quiet on the Pre's official release date, and is only saying the Pre will be released in the first six months of 2009. The "Real Reviewers" program also fits into Palm's plan of limiting the Pre's hands-on time with journalists, and turning to non-traditional outlets instead. In recent weeks, the Palm Pre was spotted in San Francisco with two mystery users, Engadget turned up with the Pre on Jimmy Fallon and Palm just sponsored a video spot about the Pre with Web personality Molly "molls" McAleer. Perhaps, Palm's publicity plans for the Pre suggest a new strategy for all future Palm devices as well?

Yesterday, the Palm Pre rumor mill went into overdrive speculating that Palm may be planning to release the Pre during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference to steal a little thunder from their iPhone rival. In other Pre rumors, TechCrunch has apparently heard from one of their "better sources" that Palm may release a Palm mini-Pre during the second half of 2009.

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