Monday, October 5, 2009

Notes on Palm webOS Updates

Last week Palm spoiled their Palm Pre customers on the Sprint network with not one, but two Palm webOS updates.

Last Tuesday's webOS 1.2.0 update had more enhancements and fixes in it than you could shake a stick at. Saturday's update to webOS 1.2.1 was also welcomed because it not only addressed an annoying sync issues with Microsoft Exchange email servers, but also re-re-enabled native sync support with Apple's iTunes 9 jukebox software.

What I was really looking forward to was the updates to the Bluetooth stack and enhanced compatibility with factory installed Bluetooth car kits. A number of customers, myself included, had reported Bluetooth pairing and connection issues with previous editions of Palm webOS.

The good news is that Palm webOS 1.2.0 (and by extension, 1.2.1) address Bluetooth pairing and usability issues with factory installed car kits. In short, I can now more safely use my Pre while I'm driving in my car. (I'm still looking for a voice dialing solution for webOS.) I've also noticed that after applying the updates, I can now send contacts to my Bluetooth car kit (very nice!), a MMS message, or to an email message.

The one thing that I was hoping would be fixed in either Palm webOS 1.2.0 or 1.2.1 was the static in a Bluetooth audio stream from the Pre to the car's stereo system. While I can make clear phone calls, when I stream music to my car's radio, over Bluetooth, there is still static and pops in the stream. It isn't a big deal, but on those days when I leave my iPod at home, my ride to and from work will be filled with lots of snaps, crackles, and pops.

All-in-all, I like the enhancements and fixes that Palm has provided in last week's updates to Sprint customers. Bell Canada customers, I'm sure, are anxious to get these updates also. (There are carrier testing and certification issues that need to be coordinated for each carrier before a handset vendor like Palm can release a new OS to their customers.) The next big hurtle for Palm's Pre and soon to be Pixi customers, is to get their on-device software store, the Palm App Catalog, out of beta.
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