developer,  hp,  pre,  sprint,  web os

“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.)


  • Alan Grassia, Editor

    Ok, here are this evening's ground rules:

    1. I'm time boxing myself to 2 hours (not including blogging time). I've already spent an hour download tools and researching what needs to be done over at web

    2. I'm limiting myself to one more can of Diet Coke, or I'll be up all night long and I don't want to repeat the events of the IBM OS/2 Warp 3.0 “hack-a-thon.”

  • Alan Grassia, Editor

    Opened last can of Diet Coke. WebOS Quick Install is up and running on my Mac (OS X Lion 10.7), Novacomm appears to be working, Pre is in developer mode (webos20090606).

    Next up, grabbing the meta-doctor tool.

  • Alan Grassia, Editor

    I've started the process by erasing my Pre and switching it to my Palm profile used for testing. Then I'll be making sure that my test profile doesn't have any old data associated with it.

  • Alan Grassia, Editor

    After reading, and re-reading, the wiki page, I've decided that I'm going to install all of the tools and utilities on my Mac Pro and not my MacBook Pro. If I mess something up, I don't want it to be on my primary computer.