Well, now, if there are, indeed, 30k - 50k of these babies sitting in a warehouse somewhere around Indianapolis, IN, with the ATT brand on them, it would seem that there is an opportunity for WebOS device consumers to petition AT&T to get them a Pre 3.
If they recieve 50,000 calls and emails and facebook requests for a Pre3, they just might see the light.
You are, of course, 100% correct in your assessment of the root of the problem here in the US and North America - carriers have way too much control over what mobile devices become available to the consumers, that they do NOT ultimately own because they sell (without any initial cash outlay.. they only pay for the ones they sell, after the contracts are signed, so, NO risk) for a significant profit with binding long erm contracts and huge penalty fees, and have no real interest in providing truly competitive devices that work best for consumers - justones loaded with their branding, modifications, and carrier lock coding/hardware.
IMO, all mobile devices should be mandated to have all GSM and CDMA voice and data radios, which the device owner can EASILY enable or disable at no cost to them in any regard. Notice, I said "device owner", not carrier; that's the consumer who ends up buying the device.
Additionally, carriers should NOT be allowed to issue phones that they do not intend to own (in other words, no carrier selling phones to consumers). They can purchase phones from manufacturer's and LEASE them to consumers, for a lease period, but, they would have to be 100% responsible for the phone support and provide a warranty for the device for that period, and at the end of that period, the consumer gives the device back to the carrier .
Furthermore, all mobile phones made for use in the US should be made manditorily availalbe for sale to the consumer from the manufacturer with no carrier specific branding or features/modifcations/locking.
Do THAT, and competition by carriers will increase, and the consumer will be in the ultimate position to leave one carrier when they do not provide the best services at the most reasonable prices for him/her and go to another one that does, WITHOUT having to incur a penalty for breaking a mobile contract and/or the huge expense of having to keep a mobile device that wont work on any other carrier, while having to spend another large amount of money to buy another carrier-locked device.
I believe that this vehicle will allow many local/regional carriers to more easily expand nationally in user base, and grow to compete with the big 4, and in the end, we could end up with as many as 10 - 12 national coverage carriers to choose from, all with equal coverage, but different strengths and weaknesses.. now THAT's competition.
The way it is now, consumers are FORCED to stay with their carriers for the term of their contracts or face stiff financial penalties AND having to enter into new contracts with the same consequences with another carrier if they switch carriers.
The carriers have it 100% the way they need it for maximum profit, except for TMobile, which, will allow any phone, branded or not, to be on their network as an 'unkown" device, just as long as you are on the appropriate plan for the services the device needs to run. I use TMobile for my Pre+ and pay for unlimited voice/data/text in a family plan that is the lowest anywhere in the US - THIS is why AT&T wants T-Mobile - they cant get those customers like me to move over to them to pay 20% more for the same plan.
This is yet another reason why the loss of T-Mobile as an option for carriers in the US would be a huge disadvantage for US consumers, and why the ATT merger should not be permitted to go through.