HP Sells the Palm Brand to Alcatel Onetouch (UPDATED)

According to a recent post over on WebOSNation website, HP has sold the Palm brand to the Chinese firm Alcatel Onetouch.

“We’ve been wondering for a while what is up with Palm.com domain, and it’s looking more and more certain that HP sold the brand and trademarks to Alcatel Onetouch. The first hints of this came from the teaser when the website started redirecting to mynewpalm.com, with a looping video of the Palm logo with the text “coming soon” and “smart move” beneath. “Smart move,” as it would be, is the slogan of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Alcatel Onetouch (a brand of Chinese electronics firm TCL). That’s not exactly a lot to go off of though, but it was enough to raise suspicions.”

The “coming soon” and “smart move” text and logo is actually a looping video file called “palm_animated5.mp4”.  Oddly, the video didn’t play on my iPhone 6 when I used it to surf to the mynewpalm.com website.  (It did work on my Mac with Safari 8.)

As a long, long time Palm fan boy I’m hoping that something good will come of the Palm brand.

UPDATE:

Upon further consideration, there are a few things that are still up in the air for Palm webOS fans.

1. I almost forgot that LG has purchased WebOS to power their line of Smart+ television sets.

2. I wonder what impact the sale of the Palm brand on LG, the Open WebOS project, and Gram (which is still online at gram.com) might be, if any.

3. What is to become of the HP/Palm webOS App Catalog store?  According to the WebOS Wikipedia page, the App Catalog site will go offline in 15 days on Jan. 15, 2015.

[Via WebOSNation.com…]

HP Releases a Minor Software Update for HP webOS

It’s no joke, webOS fans, HP has release the smallest of mandatory updates for Palm’s smartphones and tablet computer.

I received an email today from HP’s webOS Team letting me know that there is a minor update available for webOS to correct an expiring root certificate that allows our webOS devices to connect to HP’s backend servers for things like Backup/Restore and the App Catalog.  The certificate is set to expire on July 23, 2013.

HP TouchPad w/ webOS 3 after the update
Palm Pre w/ webOS 2.1 after the update

HP TouchPads running webOS 3 will be upgraded to App Catalog version 5.0.3500.  HP and Palm branded smartphones running webOS 2 will be updated to 2.1.10000.

The email contained directions for devices running webOS 2.1 and later as well as for devices running a version of webOS that was released prior to webOS 2.1.

Full details on how to update your webOS smartphone or tablet can be found on the HP website.

Anyone who plans to keep using their Palm webOS devices after July 23 of this year are encouraged to charge up your device and either install the automatic software update using the Software Update application or by manually going to the App Store and installing the App Catalog Update utility.

The email is copied below:


Mandatory webOS system update
A certificate used on webOS devices expires on July 23, 2013. For the system to be able to use cloud services such as Backup/Restore and App Catalog the certificate needs to be updated.
Beginning June 6th an automatic update to the Application Catalog has replaced the certificate. That means that if your device is running webOS “2.1” or greater you can have the certificate installed automatically by activating your device and accepting the update.
If your device is running a webOS version older than “2.1”, or you want to manually install, go to the HP App Catalog on your device and select the app called “App Catalog Update”, download and install it on your system.
To install the new certificate, download and install this application.
After July 23rd, 2013, it will be necessary to take special steps to install this update. Details will be available on the HP support site (https://developer.palm.com/support/applicationupdate?sssdmh=dm13.346142)
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
webOS Team

Installing Palm’s Tasks App on Your TouchPad

Yesterday, Ryan St. Andrie, of webOSNation.com, posted an article on installing the webOS Tasks application from a Pre or Pixi smartphone on your TouchPad tablet.  Tasks, unbelievably, is an application that never made it into webOS 3.0.  You can read the full story over on webOSNation.com.

The steps outlined in the article work well enough.  I did run into some *minor* problems while packing up the Tasks app for installation on my TouchPad.  The first issue was how to deal with the .jar webOS Doctor file that contains the Tasks application that I wanted to install.  The second issue was where do a copy the Task application to once I got it on my TouchPad.

Issue 1: Working with the .jar webOS Doctor file

webOS Doctor files, shipped as Java .jar files, are essentially hard reset files that allow you to reset and reload a clean copy of webOS on your device.  The article calls for opening the .jar file with a PC compression utility like WinRAR.  I’ve used WinRAR before…on my PC.  As I said, I’m using a Mac now.

Without thinking, I loaded up Parallels, launched my Windows 7 virtual machine, and was off to the races as they say.  But what if you don’t have Paralles, VMware Fusion, or a copy of Windows hanging around?  The solution turns out to be very simple; rename the .jar file to .zip!  (I didn’t come up with that myself.  I found the solution here.  Thanks, cazlar!)  I did go back and test the rename-the-file trick and it does work.  Sweet!!

Also, once you get the .jar-now-a-.zip file open, here is the path you have to navigate to find the Tasks folder.  I am going to assume that you are using the unlocked Pre2 webOS 2.2.4 Doctor file.

webosdoctorp224pre2wr.jar > resources > webOS.tar > .\nova-cust-image-roadrunner.rootfs.tar.gz > .\usr > palm > applications > com.palm.app.tasks

Issue 2: Moving the Tasks app

Once you have installed the repackaged Tasks .IPK file on your TouchPad, you have to move it to the Linux partition for Palm’s built-in webOS applications because Tasks is a system application and not a third-party application.

If you are reading the webOSNations article carefully, you will know that you will need to move the Tasks app folder from the path:

/media/cryptofs/apps/usr/palm/applications/com.palm.tasks

to:

/usr/palm/applications/com.palm.tasks

The thing that tripped me up was the screen shot that was provided was of the first path, not the second.  Just be aware of that when you go to move the com.palm.tasks folder.

After rebooting my TouchPad, Tasks was up and running in the webOS smartphone emulator on my tablet!

The entire process took about an hour for me to complete.  Times will vary depending on how much software needs to be downloaded, updated, or installed on your Mac, PC, and TouchPad.

[Via webOSNation.com…]

Google Nexus 4 Wireless Charger

Google has launched a wireless, inductive charger for the Nexus 4 smartphone.

“Charge your Nexus 4 wirelessly with this Qi inductive charger. Its angled surface provides easy visibility of your phone while charging. This elegant device was designed specifically for your Nexus 4 — no clunky add-ons or accessories needed.”

The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger can be purchased now, directly from Google at the Play Store.  As indicated by the name, the charger will only work with the Nexus 4 smartphone, which can also be purchased directly from the Google Play store.  The 8GB Nexus 4 will cost you $299, while the 16GB version goes for $349.  Neither phone requires a new service contract.

I’m glad to see Google releasing this charger for the Nexus 4.  It was one of my favorite features of my Palm Pre back in 2009 and one of the features I long for as a built in option on my Apple iPhone.

Available in black, the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger looks very similar to Palm’s Touchstone charger for the Palm Pre an other webOS smartphones.

[Via BGR.com…]

BlackBerry Z10 Handsets Appear To Be Selling Out

BlackBerry is attempting an Apple-like company turn around, which is by no means, an easy thing to do for any company.  A recent article said that BlackBerry doesn’t need to beat out iOS and Google Android hands down right now, rather the BlackBerry 10 OS needs to be able to hold it’s own to iterate and mature.

Being a long time Palm fan, I have observed similarities between the transformation RIM is currently undertaking with BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 and Palm’s transformation from Palm OS and the Treo to webOS and the Pre and the launch of the Z10 in the UK is just another parallel.

Writing for BGR, Zach Epstein writes:

“Checks at 40 stores in Canada indicate sell-through of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone is strong on its launch day, with numerous stores selling out towards the end of the day,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. “Z10 pre-orders reached record highs (for BlackBerry).” 

“That’s the good news. Sue tossed some cold water on the report though, noting very short Z10 inventory across all of the stores he spoke with. “Supply appears limited, with stores allocated avg. 5-10 units/store for walk-ins and est. 20-30 units/store for pre-orders,” the analyst wrote.”

Huh.  You know what other device was the best selling launch day device with sellouts across the board?  Well, yes, the last iPhone, but I was specifically thinking about the Palm Pre with webOS on June 6, 2009.

The Palm Pre for Sprint was selling out all over the place.  Which is easy to do when each store received less than 24 devices each.

We all witnessed Palm’s sad, slow demise, and I have to wonder if the new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 are the new Palm Pre and Pixi.

For BlackBerry fans and customers, let’s hope not.

[Via BGR.com…]

HP/Palm TouchPad Unboxing

My refurbished HP Palm TouchPad 32GB unit arrived yesterday afternoon.  About all I was able to do with it was unbox it and charge it up.  I’ve started playing with it today and I’ll be blogging more about it over the next few days, but for now, here are my unboxing photos.  They may not be sexy, but at least I have a TouchPad now.

If you had forgotten that you purchased a refurbished unit, HP will remind you.

Refurbished packing material is so unsexy.  The TouchPad is held in place by two foam blocks and the accessories are stuffed in to the slot on the left.

At least the TouchPad is shipped in the same protective film that new units are shipped in.  If you’ve unpacked an iPad, it’s the same kind of plastic film.

Here we have the TouchPad, the power adapter and sync cable (similar to the ones shipped with the Pre series smartphones) and a cardboard box that contains the getting started guides, and obligatory legalese documents.  The box reads, “Now comes the fun part.”

HP WindsorNot webOS Smartphone

I liked my original Sprint Pre, but I would have much preferred a device like the unreleased WindsorNot.  This is just another shadow of a device that we’ll never get to play with.  Sad, so sad.

I was never a huge fan of Palm’s sliders, despite having purchased the Palm Pre, Tungsten T3 and Tungsten T on launch day for all three devices.  (I also built my own Tungsten T2 from OEM spare parts!!)

On second though, the WindsorNot looks a lot like a Pre3 without the slider.

[Via WebOSNation.com…]

webOS’ Final Years Chronicled

As many of you know, I’ve always had a soft spot for Palm, Palm OS and even webOS.

Last week, The Verge has posted a very good article on the final three years of Palm and webOS.  The article covers the period of time from the 2009 CES webOS and Pre introduction to the present as HP shuts down the webOS hardware division and pushes the webOS software out to the open source pasture.

As a follow up to The Verge’s article, former webOS software engineer Josh Marinacci, now working for Nokia, chimes in with his observations and insider perspectives.

If you are a webOS user or fan of Palm, you will definitely want to read both article.

Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS – The Verge

webOS on The Verge – Josh on Design

HP Halts All webOS Hardware Sales

Earlier this week, HP announced during their quarterly earning call that they will halt the sale of all webOS devices, including the recently launched HP TouchPad tablet and the Pre3 smartphone.

“HP will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. The devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

This is yet another sad day for fans of the Palm product family, but, unfortunately, not a surprising one.  The sell through of webOS devices has not risen to the levels to allow HP and webOS to compete against the likes of Apple iOS and Google Android.  HP executives where quick to point out that they had not killed the webOS operating system, but with the OS not available on any new devices and a dwindling customer install base, I don’t see how HP will hope to attract third-party developers to their platform if HP themselves are not fully committed to it.

The good news, if you are a die hard fan of Palm and webOS, HP is suppose to be starting a fireside sale on their remaining inventory of HP TouchPad tablets.  The 16GB TouchPad is suppose to go on sale for $99, while the 32GB TouchPad will sell for $149.

Keep and eye on the HP online store for your last chance to pick up a TouchPad before they disappear.

Meta-Doctoring: Part 5 – Sign of Life Check [Updated x2]

The installation of the meta-doctored webOS 2.1.0 install has completed!

Now the hard part – making sure everything is still working!

Update: All features and functions of webOS 2.1 appear to be working! Whoo-hoo!

On the agenda for the post software load is to:

1. See if I can log into one of my Palm profiles – Working!
2. Verify that webOS is running as expected – Working!
3. Connect to a Wi-Fi hot spot – Working!
4. Verify developer mode is on or can be activated – Working! (webos20090606)
5. Restore my Sprint PRL software – Working! (no update possible going forward)
6. Install the latest build of Preware – Working!
7. Apply some basic patches – Working!
8. Apply software tweaks from the webos-internals.org webOS 2 upgrade wiki post – Working!
9. Backup the Pre to my alternate Palm profile – Working!
10. Access the HP App Catalog, install software – Working!
11. GPS access – Working!