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webOS App Catalog: Paid apps coming soon

With of the release of Palm webOS 1.2 earlier this week sporting numerous improvements, developers and users alike were looking forward to paid apps in the App Catalog. Previous delays aside, time is running out on the latest rumor that Palm will open up the floodgates of e-commerce today, allowing us to finally spend our hard earned paychecks on premium apps. In any regards, a few details of what to expect are available, including:

  • Developers can use hidden tags (added in 1.2) so that apps can be easier to find using Universal Search.
  • Paid apps are tied to your Palm Profile, so deleted apps can be re-downloaded for free.
  • If you get a new webOS device such as upcoming Pixi or a new Pre (i.e. a bricked device from various problems), you can transfer all your apps to the new device.
  • Canadians with a Bell Canada device will still have to wait a bit longer to shell out their cash for paid apps, as no estimate is available yet for e-commerce features.

We will keep you posted once the first paid apps hit the Catalog. Which apps are you most looking forward to on the Pre, and how much are you expecting to pay for them?




App Catalog "Kill Switch" confirmed in webOS 1.2

Along with the new Pre webOS 1.2.0 update, the infamous "kill switch" has been implemented into the App Catalog. According to the "Palm App Catalog End-User Terms & Conditions", Palm can not only remove and modify apps uploaded to the App Catalog, but also remotely do so for apps on your device.

“Palm reserves the right, at its sole discretion and at any time, to add, remove, disable access to, block, or modify the App Catalog, and to add, remove, disable access to, block, or modify remotely any Applications previously downloaded to your device from the App Catalog.”

Of course, this is meant to prevent apps from exhibiting "harmful behavior or unforseen effects" on unexpected users, so we can see how Palm needs to have a (legal) way to remove broken or harmful apps in a New York minute to cover their behind.

This also comes as no surprise, as the iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile platforms all have a similar system in place (even other mobile devices such as the Kindle). Of note is that webOS Homebrew apps on your device should not be affected, at least for the time being.




Palm Pre webOS 1.2.0 update woes

It's been a couple days since Palm webOS 1.2 was released, bringing a host of improvements to the masses. However, not everyone had a smooth transition to the new version. While the majority of users had a hitch-free experience, reports of problems - ranging from gesture quirks to unexpected hard resets - have already started streaming in. Precentral and MyPre report several issues that users are having since the update:

Reported Issues:

  • After installing the update, some phones hard reset spontaneously. Phones can be restored via the Palm Profile, but servers were temporarily down due to traffic (which shows the volatility of the cloud).
  • When users receive a new IM / SMS notification, only the icon and picture are displayed; no text along with it.
  • Google location services is up to ten miles off target.
  • IMAP idle not working, e-mail messages keep repeating, and Classic WiFi HotSync not working.
  • The launcher only responds to up-swipes in card view, and notifications cannot be minimized with a down-swipe (due to the fact that the down swipe now brings up the top menus).
  • Issues with bluetooth devices - fixed by re-adding the devices.
  • webOS Quick Install broken, so new hacks / homebrew cannot be installed until app is updated.
  • Exchange Activesync has issues with hosted exchange accounts such as 1and1, 4smartphone, and mail2web.
  • Freezing issues reported with Blubbles and Online Radio 1.0.1 apps.
  • Some users report after installing the 79 MB 1.2.0 update, the phone promoted them to install a second 153 MB 1.2.0 update. No problems or new features came from this.

Have you run into any of these or other issues? There seem to be a few more problems than with the 1.1 update, so a 1.2.1 update is likely not far behind. Thankfully, most users had a smooth experience; and for the few who have major issues with the update, the webOS Doctor was also updated recently, allowing you to reset your phone to a factory fresh 1.2.0 if needed.



Palm Mojo SDK, webOS Doctor updated to version 1.2

Not soon after Palm webOS 1.2 was released today to the masses, another update hit our doorstep, which should help developers get their new paid apps off the ground in no time. The new version of the Mojo SDK (1.2) includes all the new APIs found in 1.2, as well as:

Improved installation and development platform support: Includes support for Mac OS X 10.6, Windows 7 Beta and Windows Vista 64-bit.

New SDK tools, including:

  • The palm-log tool lets you view logs generated by your application in real time, for debugging and other analysis. In addition to JavaScript errors and exceptions, the logs can contain custom messages that you log from your application using the Logging API.

  • The webOS Resource Monitor graphs your application’s DOM node count and open service handles as your application runs, to help you determine the memory footprint of your application and detect memory leaks.

New APIs, including:

  • The Key Service API gives you access to buttons pressed on wired and wireless headsets, and the volume buttons on the device. This is helpful for applications that play audio or video.

  • The Download Manager API lets you upload and download files over HTTP. This API provides a subscription option that sends your application regular status updates until the upload or download is complete.

Many other smaller improvements are also included, see the release notes for a full list of changes, or download it now.

Accordingly, the webOS doctor also has a new version out, and should help bring your almost-bricked Pre phones (from a furious development / homebrew session?) back to the newest webOS 1.2.0, so not to fear.

PDN Blog



Palm webOS 1.2 released; many improvements, still no iTunes sync

Previously tipped off as releasing later this week, version 1.2 of Palm webOS was released today, with the 79MB OTA download bringing the version to 1.2.0, paid apps to the App Catalog, and a host of other fixes and improvements. Changes include: direct downloads from browser, OTA downloads from the Amazon MP3 app, improved zoom, improved music playback, new gesture for application menus, search, cut, copy and paste improvements, car bluetooth tweaks, and much more. Check out the previous articles here and here for more on what's new. Also, see the changelog for the full scoop.

However, contrary to previous rumors, the broken iTunes sync still has not been patched; so forget about trying to sync your Pre with iTunes 9.01 for now.




New webOS hacks - Palm Pre video recording, MSN Messenger and more

Although still in early stages, a couple new promising hacks have arisen by way of webOS internals (who were behind other projects such as a virtual keyboard). Below is a short summary of the latest:

Basic video recording has been enabled, and full-out video support looks like a real possibility in the future. So far, the Pre camera is recording at 320x480 @ 30fps. However, the format is severely restricted, with SMPlayer being one of the few players capable of playback right now. See below for an actual video:

The Pre hardware is reported to be capable of up to 720x480 widescreen @ 30fps, so hopefully with improvements (or an official solution from Palm) the quality and formatting can be improved.

Visit the official page at webOS internals. Normally the feature requires some work to get running (including root access), but Precentral gives some help in their forums, with an .ipk available for download.

webOS Messaging Mod now supports Windows Live Messenger, ICQ, and more. For those looking to expand their messaging clients, the latest version of the messaging mod will give you all these and more, with Facebook Chat coming soon, and possibly IRC (others to be added in the future). This was made possible a couple weeks ago when Palm allowed full access to their open source library, libpurple, which powers their webOS instant messenger. There are still a few bugs however, including:

  • Attempts to link your new Live Messenger, Yahoo IM, or ICQ contacts to an existing contact will result in your Pre freezing.
  • After such a linking, that contact card will look completely blank white, in essence uneditable.
  • After such a linking, the Live Messenger/Yahoo IM/ICQ contact will be the primary contact for that person.

PalmInfocenter has the scoop on all the messaging goodness. The hack is still in development, notes Precentral, but is expected to be released soon.



Palm webOS 1.2 update due this week? Over 70 improvements expected

The latest rumor over the impending Palm webOS 1.2 update now pegs the date for this Friday (Oct 2), reports a tipster at Palm Infocenter. The anticipated Pre update has already been delayed, and is expected to implement e-commerce (paid apps) in the App Catalog, alongside a host of other improvements. In regards to the broken iTunes 9 sync, apparently the patch took only a couple of hours to fix, likely with direction from Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, formerly VP of Apple's iPod divison.

The main cause of the delay is apparently issues with Sprint's data services. Thankfully, the fact that webOS 1.2 was leaked earlier on has given the community a chance to chime in on all the update goodness; so far over 70 key improvements have been reported. These include support for the Paid App Catalog, cut and paste upgrades, speed improvements, and even LED blink notifications.

Check out Precentral's overview of all the new features found in 1.2.



Mozilla developer team tapped by Palm

Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith, who headed the Mozilla Developer Tools Lab since October 2008, have made the move to webOS as directors of the Palm Developer Relations Team. They were responsible for products such as Bespin, a cloud-based editor designed to be an extendable framework for application developers. Their editor was developed in reaction to excitement about smaller hardware becoming more useful as applications shifted to the web. The pair are well known for their JavaScript ideas and as pioneers of Ajax, founding Ajaxian, a web community.

"We will be trying to create a rich connective tissue between the company and the web developer community that we love", writes Almaer in his blog. "There is a massive opportunity with Palm webOS to give Web developers the ability to deploy outside of the browser, and onto the device."

When they were approached by Palm, the management team impressed them, persuading them of the crucial role of the Web to developers. "By giving us the honor of this responsibility, they signal their intent". And for Mozilla fans, although officially off the project they will continue to contribute to Bespin, as Mozilla is an open community. "You can't say that about too many companies out there", Almaer notes.




Palm Pre free after rebate; #1 bestselling mobile phone

Just the weekend after Amazon dropped their price of the webOS Pre to $99 after rebate, leave it to another retailer, LetsTalk, to offer it for even cheaper; free after rebates. So as long as you're with waiting for a MIR and cashback, you can have some boasting power over your friends who waited in line for a $199 (after rebate) Pre at launch. PhoneCashBack has the scoop on how to cash in on the deal:

  1. Click this link to buy a Palm Pre from LetsTalk. You must click that special link, or no cashback for you.
  2. Use coupon code 25RAFPCVER1 at checkout.
  3. Fill out our cashback request form. They'll give you $54.99 in cashback, the after-rebate price.
  4. We’ll get your cashback out to you before the mail-in rebates arrive. It’s that simple.

The offer lasts for only 72 hours, until 5 PM PST on September 30.

In addition, PreThinking notes that the latest round of price drops has pushed the Pre up to the #1 Bestselling mobile phone on Amazon.com and Best Buy Mobile (although just now swapping the lead with the new BB). Can the new Palm Pixi, expected to debut at $99 after rebate, also rise to the top?




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