Meta-Doctoring: Part 4 – Building the New Doctor File

Continuing to play around with applying an unofficial version of webOS 2.1.0 to my Sprint Original Palm Pre smartphone, I’ve installed all the required tools to get the job done.

I’ve also taken the precaution to backup my PRL software so I can continue to apply Sprint preferred roaming list updates once the upgrade to webOS 2.1.0 has completed.

Now, I’m running the Unix command line tools on my Mac to download the webOS 2 doctor files, mash them all together, and churn out a new custom meta-doctored webOS doctor restore file.

There is a lot of Unix “gook” scrolling across my Terminal window which, I have to admit, not being a Unix/Linux propeller head, I have no idea what it’s doing.  (I know my limits and I’m not a programmer nor am I a Unix geek.  I know just enough Unix and Linux to get myself in to serious trouble!)

So, with Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack thumping in the back ground, the lights down low, I’ll grab my eighth Diet Coke for this project, and get to installing the new webOS Doctor!

Meta-Doctoring: Part 3 – Sprint PRL Backup

In preparing to perform an unofficial webOS 2.1.0 upgrade on my Sprint Palm Pre, I have read that you need to backup your PRL software so I can restore it to my phone later on.  This is an important step because Sprint doesn’t offer webOS 2.1.0 for the Original Pre and you won’t be able to use properly update your PRL on a meta-doctored Sprint Pre if you fail to do this step first.

What is PRL you ask?  Good question.  I don’t really know either.  PRL stands for Preferred Roaming List.  Is is a database that gets downloaded to a smartphone that uses CDMA radios just like the ones in Sprint and Verizon Pre/Pre+ phones.  The database has a list of network IDs that Sprint has network sharing contracts with to allow your phone to “roam” on other carrier’s network towers. (source)

The good folks at webos-internals.org have a wiki page up on how to backup your PRL data before you go ahead and do the meta-doctor webOS 2.1.0 upgrade.

Just an important note: You must use your own PRL data.  It is tied specifically to your phone!

Meta-Doctoring: Part 2 [Updated]

Last night I got the bright idea to “meta-doctor”my Sprint Palm Pre to run webOS 2.1.0.

After spending hours researching, reading, re-reading, and lots of download, hard resetting, and rebooting…phew!…I think I’m ready to start on the process of “doctoring” a version of HP webOS 2.1.0 to run on my Palm Pre.

Here is a little sample of what the process looks like so far:

Unix commands being executed to install required software.

Exciting, huh?

Update:

The Meta-Doctor and GIT tools have been installed successfully!

“Meta-Doctoring” My Original Sprint Pre

Who am I to let a little thing like an OEM/wireless carrier spat get in the way of all of the fun an excitement of running webOS 2.x on my original Sprint Pre (some would refer to my webOS phone as the Sprint Pre Minus)?

I don’t think so, either.  So with a new found bravery of software hacking my Pre smartphone (I also carry a company issued Motorola Droid Pro with me all the time), I’m researching all of the ninja-like things I’m going to have to do to mash up a Sprint Pre compatible version of webOS 2.1.0 together.

Reading the webOS Internals official wiki on the subject reads like a splashy summer murder mystery thriller.  You need to grab an unofficial build of webOS 2 that isn’t customized for Sprint.  Then you need to download some tools that developers use to write software.  For extra fun, I’ll need to take a trip to the Unix command line of my Pre using something called “Novacomm”.

At the end of the process, if all goes well, I’ll have a Sprint Pre running webOS 2.1.0 working with Sprint’s network.  Oh, some things like Sprint Navigation may no longer work, but I use Google Navigation on my Droid Pro for directions in the car now.  I may also lose the ability to receive Sprint Roaming Profile Lists (RPLs), but hey, that’s life in the fast lane for ya.

Now, I’m not really a risk taker when it matters.  I plan on using a separate Palm Profile account, not my primary one until I have confirmed that I have a (mostly) stable install on my phone.  Once you upgrade to webOS 2.x, your webOS 1.x profile is converted and I don’t believe that there is a way to downgrade it once you’ve stepped up to webOS 2.  I’ve also backed up my USB partition to my Mac’s hard drive.  And lastly, if things go really wrong, it looks like I’ll be able to download the webOS Doctor file for the Sprint Pre and revert the phone back to an official webOS 1.4.5 build.

Just call me “Greg House, MD” this weekend.

(And yes, for my long time readers, the role of vicodin as seen in “House, M.D.” will be replaced by a constant stream of cold cans of Diet Coke.)

Sprint Loses 101,000 Post-Paid Customers

Sprint reported their quarterly earning and dropped a “small” detail that they lost 101,000 post-paid customers.  They expected to lose “just” 15,000.

In an article posted by AppleInsider today, they write:

“In its latest quarter, Sprint posted a net loss of 101,000 subscribers, far higher than the 15,000 loss analysts had expected it to suffer. In contrast, AT&T added 331,000 subscribers and Verizon added 1.3 million, aided by news sales of 2.3 million iPhones.”

It seems that I really love underdogs; first Palm, and now Sprint.  If only they had the HP Pre3 or the Apple iPhone.

[Via AppleInsider.com…]

Rumor: Sprint webOS Customers Get Shafted. Again.

It’s tough to be a webOS fan.  Especially on Sprint.  If it wasn’t bad enough that Sprint Pre and Pixi customers have been left out in the cold for the webOS 2.0 party, but now a new rumor from a reliable source is saying that the Pre3 won’t be coming to Sprint.

“Today the folks over at This Is My Next cited a “trusted source” in saying that the Pre3 – or any other webOS device – will not be coming to Sprint. We know a lot of you just died a little bit inside, and that’s not the news you wanted to hear today. On the flipside of the same coin, we’ve heard from plenty of “I talked to an HP rep” crowd that have heard that the Pre3 is coming to Sprint, along with Verizon and AT&T. You can hold out hope if you want, but trusted sources trump chatter in our book.”

I was in line at 6am to one of the first people to get a Palm Pre on launch day.  With webOS market share below 5% in the US and the Pre3 not coming to Sprint any time soon, it just reaffirms my decision to switch phones this fall when the iPhone 5 goes live.  The only question that really remains is whether or not Sprint will get the iPhone 5.  If they do, I’ll say with Sprint to grandfather in my unlimited data plan. If Sprint doesn’t get the iPhone 5, then I’m looking to head over to AT&T Wireless.

[Via PreCentral.net…]

Rumor: HP webOS 1.4.5.1 Update On The Way

Call it a parting gift.  Call it a party favor.  Heck, it might as well be a case of Turtle Wax or a year’s supply of Rice-A-Roni, but HP is allegedly pushing out a very small maintenance update for devices running webOS 1.4.5.

HP webOS 1.4.5.1 weighs in at an underwhelming 1MB and is reported to a bug fix release.  I’ve been checking my Sprint Pre for the last two days and there has been no notice of a new patch in the Updates application.  I’ve also checked the HP Palm support website, and the webOS Updates pages for the Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi, and Pixi Plus for Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and Bell don’t list any updates.

Someone keeping watch over the Twitter @webOSdev account claims the update is real and that they are “just cleaning up some bugs.”  Hopefully, one of the bugs that will get fixed in the update is the annoying HTML tag error in the Contacts notes field that was fixed in webOS 2.x, but not in the 1.4.x software line.

I’ll keep an eye out for the webOS 1.4.5.1 update and let you know if it finally arrives on my original Sprint Palm Pre.  The Palm webOS 1.4.5 update was first rolled out for the Sprint Palm Pre on August 10, 2010.  Additionally, HP has not yet released the details of their “alternative plans” are for customers who, according to them, will not be receiving the HP webOS 2.0 update.

[Via PreCentral.net…]

webOS 2.x for the Sprint Pre? Probably Not.

There is an interesting thread that I picked up this weekend over at PreCentral.net, thanks to last Friday’s Pre Doodle cartoon.

It seems that PreCentral forum member “zacky59” chatted with a Sprint customer service rep and inquired about webOS 2.x being released for the Sprint Pre and Pixi.  The Sprint CSR told the customer that an update was coming as early as May 2, 2011.

I don’t think that this is a hoax or anything on zacky59’s part.  I just don’t believe that Sprint will be releasing an update for a 2-year old smartphone.  Time has passed the original Pre and Pixi by.  HP is has moved on to the Pre 2, the Veer, the Pre3, and their new tablet, the TouchPad.  I’d be shocked if Sprint and HP roll out an update to webOS 2.-anything.

How can I be so sure you ask?  What proof to do I have that an update is unlikely?  Beside the age of the phone, Sprint hasn’t announced any new plans for any of HP’s new webOS smartphones.  The webOS development team is hard at work on tweaking up webOS 2 for the Veer and the Pre3, not to mention webOS 3.0 for the TouchPad.  Aside from the thread, there has been no other blog coverage of an impending software update.  And lastly, HP, via their Palm website, clearly states that there is no update coming for the Sprint Pre.

If you head over to the webOS 2.0 Update Info page, and enter the first five characters from a Sprint Pre, you are rewarded with the following message:

“Your device is not able to support the new features of webOS 2.

Therefore, your device will not receive a webOS 2 update. The latest software version for your device is webOS 1.4.5.”

Now I did play with a legitimate beta build of webOS 2.0.1 on my Pre a few months ago.  Yes, it did run on my Pre.  No, it wasn’t fully finished or optimized for my hardware.  Think about the last time you upgraded your PC – the old one was working, but, gosh, it was slow.  Same thing holds true for webOS 2.0.1 on the Pre.

Would I like to seen an optimized version of webOS 2 for my Pre be released this month from Sprint?  You betcha’!  But I’m not going to get my hopes up.