Palm Pre fans now have some good news to rejoice about.

Sprint Nextel will launch the Palm Pre in the first week of June, according to a report in the New York Times.

The report, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter, indicated that a battle between top smartphone’s--namely the Pre and an updated version of Apple's iPhone--would begin when Sprint launched the device.

Also on Monday, the Web site reported it has heard that Sprint Nextel stores have already sent at least one Pre to every store to get employees familiar with the device. According to the report, large shipments of the Pre haven't come into stores yet, however, the stores are gearing up for the phones launch.

The launch date has been the subject of intense speculation on the Internet and for those following Sprint and Palm.

Palm insists that the launch of the Pre is not a pivotal moment for the company, which has steadily been losing money and smart phone market share.

The Palm Pre will be the first phone to use Palms new Web operating system, and many analysts are saying the handset could offer competition for the popular Apple iPhone in the smartphone market.

Other specs of the new device include a sliding keyboard and multi-touch key screen, has an operating system is designed for multitasking. It will also come with 8GB of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 3.0 megapixel camera.

Palm shares were trading up 68 cents, or 6.02 percent to $11.98 on the Nasdaq in late-afternoon trading.