Palm Makes Gadget Reviewers Look, Not Touch

CNET gadget reviewer Bonnie Cha is mad as hell, and she's not going to take it anymore! Why? Palm won't let her place both hands on a prototype of its iPhone-smashing Pre smartphone.

Cha complains that reps for Sprint and Palm have shown the device off at trade shows, but won't actually let go. At all times, someone acting in their official capacity is hanging desperately onto the Pre, which it announced in January but has yet to release on the market.

Palm spokeswoman Lynn Fox, reached at a deli in New York after spending a day letting radio shock jock Howard Stern get both of his greasy mitts all over the Pre, explained that the company "didn't want to play a game of pass-the-device in a crowded room." She suggested but did not quite spell out the no-win prospect of wrestling the precious, Bono-funded device out of an deranged blogger's hands.

We think the policy is utterly wrongheaded. We can't think of better publicity than a gadget hound, surrounded by a crowd of flacks huffing and sighing, defying their disapproval to hold onto the Pre.