For Pre users wanting to take advantage of their data plan to make inexpensive or free VoIP calls around the world, you now have more than one option:
First off, Shape Services have ported their popular IM+ universal instant messaging service to run in the Pre browser, which allows for full Skype functionality. The app is web-based and you simply visit s4palm.com on your mobile browser to get in. Once logged on, you use SkypeOut minutes to make calls and can also text with Skype contacts. The program comes with a 10-day trial and for $9.99 you can get lifetime usage of IM+.
Meanwhile, Voxofon is working on their own VoIP application to run natively on webOS, and is due out later this year on the Pre. The app will be free to download and international rates will start at 1.3 cents/minute and international texts from 6 cents.
Finally, a new unofficial app called dkGoogleVoice has been developed, which acts a third-party Google Voice client. For those unfamiliar, Google Voice allows you to have a single phone number that can be set to ring through to any phone, for example your cell phone, work phone, or home phone. You can also filter which contacts will ring through to select phones, or even send unwanted callers directly to voicemail. It also offers voicemail forwarding, transcripts, greetings, and more.
Also, because Google Voice apps have since been rejected from the iPhone, Pre users can now have a one-up on their iPhone buddies who may be fielding unwanted calls and dishing out some serious bucks for international usage. Check out a short animated video after the break describing this new service. Have you ever used Google Voice before, or if you are a VoIP user, will having these services on the Pre will be useful to you?
Canadians are readying for the launch of the Palm Pre on Bell Mobility, most likely a 6 month exclusive, which will shut the doors on rival CDMA provider Telus (whether hackers will open this up is another story, similar to how Verizon was hacked to work with the Sprint handset).
According to MobileSyrup, Bell has started to ramp up their in-store advertising for the Pre, featuring a large "Coming Soon" line, and "Order yours today", hinting that preorders have already started for the new handset. As for when Bell will start rolling out the Pre ads (akin to Sprint's ad campaign), it should be only a matter of time. Rumors peg the launch in just a couple days, on August 1st, although an online contest to win a Pre (see below) doesn't end until the end of August.
In any case, Bell will beat O2 to the punch as the first carrier outside to the US, and only the second carrier after Sprint to carry Palm's webOS handset. Are you a Bell user, or know someone from Canada planning to pick one up when it arrives?
For those waiting for a newly minted version of Palm webOS, 1st edition to get the latest tips on developing from Palm CTO Mitch Allen, you may not have to wait much longer. TamsPalm reports that the Early Access team sent out notification that the book has hit the printing press:
"This is a notification that Palm webOS, 1st Edition has just been published to print.
As part of the terms of the Rough Cuts service, you may continue to access the completed book online for a period of 45 days. During this period, you will be able to the PDF version. However, if you plan to read Palm webOS, 1st Edition online after this 45 day period, you will need to access it as part of a standard Safari Books Online subscription.
For users who purchased the Rough Cuts Bundle, you will receive a separate email shortly with the shipping and billing information for the print version of your Rough Cuts title."
So if you've purchased the Rough Cuts edition, consider archiving the latest PDF in the next month or so, before Safari Books Online gives you the boot. Meanwhile, the book is listed for preorder from Amazon (at a lower price than O'Reilly's site), and should be available in the next couple weeks or so.
The final chapter of Palm webOS: Rough Cuts, Localization and Internationalization, was released late last month. Visit the official site for more details; you can also discuss the online version in the forums.
Less than a week after the webOS 1.1 update added a single app for NFL fans and re-enabled iTunes sync, Palm has let loose a couple new additions to the App Catalog for us to download (at no cost). Pre users can now download OpenTable for Palm webOS, a popular restaurant reservation service which takes advantages of the device capabilities, such as location-aware features and synergy integration of your reservations to your calendar.
Also new in the App Catalog is Fliq Bookmarks, a utility from Mark/Space that works with the Missing Sync (which coincidentally allows Pre-iTunes syncing should Apple break connectivity again) is to transfer Safari bookmarks to your Palm Pre. It currently works with the Mac version, although PC syncing is expected soon.
Could this be a sign of good things to come? Palm has already released the public Mojo SDK, which is already up to version 1.1, and while homebrew installing is quite easy, we're sure Palm will want a few more additions to their App Catalog in the near future.
Following the webOS 1.1 update released recently, Palm also released a new version of their Mojo SDK, albeit to slightly less fanfare. The update brings the Windows/Mac devkit to v1.1 (Build 12), and is aimed at fixing certain installer issues with Windows and Macintosh. Palm Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach writes:
I’m happy to announce we’ve released a new version of the SDK and it’s now available for download.
This version is primarily aimed at fixing the installer issues that have been reported on Windows and Macintosh. The “rollback” issue and the problems some people had with the installer on XP with DLLs being replaced improperly leading to BSOD problems are fixed, as is a problem installing on a Mac when the emulator wasn’t properly uninstalled first.
There are no changes to the Linux SDK, and no functionality changes to the SDK itself, so if you’re currently up and running, there’s no need to download and install this update.
There are still a few known issues; more details can be found in the Release Notes. The latest version can be downloaded here.
Since a previous webOS update closed an early e-mail install loophole, developers have been looking for alternative ways to easily install homebrew apps to their device. In the span of just a few weeks, a range of install methods, some more elegant than others (but all with the same result), have come to the surface. Below is a short summary all the homebrew-installing goodness, for when you cook up your latest and greatest apps.
- PreBrew Installer: After setting developer mode on the Pre and installing the program, an icon named "Drop file Here to install Pre App" appears on the desktop. Do what it says and you have your app installed. Windows only.
- Terminal: A command-line terminal for the Pre that is designed to be an on-device homebrew app installer; although it is currently in early, Pre-Alpha stage.
- WebOS Quick Install: A simple, Java-based app you can install on Mac/PC/Linux. Put your Pre into developer mode with the Konami code, then simply drag and drop .ipk files to the app and click install.
- fileCoaster: An on-device file download and .ipk install tool. Along the lines of the e-mail install loophole, you just copy and paste .ipk files into the app, and install homebrew without the need for the desktop. It can also download other files, such as images and MP3s.
Note that all programs are still in alpha or beta stages, so use them at your own risk. However with the variety of installation methods available, now your apps should be free to make their way into the world!
For Verizon users, a conference call with Verizon execs brought some good news, confirming that the company will carry the Pre "early next year", reports Digital Daily. This backs up earlier rumors that Verizon was to get Palm's new device, although the length of Sprint's Pre exclusivity is still in the air.
As for the bad news, the conference call with Verizon CFO John Killan reported that "the current environment is challenging", and a total 16,000 jobs could be lost by the end of the year (8,000 jobs already lost in the past year). In response, they are looking at cutting costs in "all other areas". Profits were also down 21 percent. This is running akin to Sprint's huge losses in subscribers and revenue last quarter, prior to the release of the webOS Palm Pre.
For those not willing to wait, Verizon has been hacked on the Palm Pre with voice and text working, although data is still not functional.
Meanwhile, Bell Canada is expected to beat Verizon to the punch (which could land by early August) and be the first carrier outside of the US. According to MobileSyrup they are expected to book the Pre on a 6-month exclusive, which would out rival CDMA provider Telus. According to a leaked document called Bell Strategy:
Bell will be the second carrier worldwide (after Sprint) to sell the Palm Pre, with exclusivity for 6 months. Bell anticipates the Canadian market will strongly embrace this product with strong interest, which will boost overall smartphone sales.
What other carriers would you like to see the Pre come to next?
With the homebrew scene already bustling and the Mojo SDK released, it was only a matter of time before someone got a native command-line terminal working on the Pre. Precentral notes that the program, currently in pre-alpha stage, allows you to run commands directly on the device. Its primary purpose is the world's first on device homebrew app installer. Below are a couple notes from the developers:
"This is early-alpha software. Consider yourself lucky if it works at all. Many people have put many hours of hard work in to get just this far...now that the first on-device homebrew installation application is available, courtesy of an open source development team, let's see which of the closed development teams working on dedicated GUI front-ends to on-device homebrew installation will be second..."
Head over to webOS-internals for all the deets and operational controls. The latest update (released today) includes increased security, color, arrow keys, automatic scrolling (you can also flick to scroll), and a much-needed ESC hotkey.
Previous Linux homebrew for webOS has included an Apache webserver and enabling the Optware Package Feed. Are there any other Linux programs or functionality that you would like to see on the Pre?
Just a few days ago Palm webOS 1.1 was released, adding a host of new security features, as well as many undocumented features. Palm Infocenter covered some of the new features in more depth today, along with many screenshots showing all the nuts and bolts of the update, so you know what you're getting into. A summary of what they covered is below:
- New NFL App: Provides game day stats, scores, standings and offers live audio broadcasts of every regular season game. Live video NFL games More once the season begins.
- Photo app: Slightly faster including photo transitions; photos now slide in from left
- Memos and e-mail: E-mail a memo easily from the drop-down menu, auto complete dictionary expanded, GUI improvements show icons for responded / flagged e-mails
- App Catalog: Not much new, but they hint at possible hidden developer features?
- System: New notification sounds, although you still cannot change them manually (although homebrew apps such as Pimp My Pre give you more control). Center button now turns on Pre when slider is open.
Some additional features are also noted at Precentral, such as previewing e-mail (which was present, but hardly noticed before the update). Also, you can double-tap to start text selection in editable fields. Also on the possible Google Maps bug, sometimes searching Google Maps loads the program with no controls, instead plopping you down at your current GPS-triangulated location.
What do you think Palm has in store for the next update?