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Cellphones Handhelds Operating Systems Software Hardware

Palm's webOS Root Image Leaks Out 176

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-sure-their-devs-are-pleased dept.
Kohenkatz writes "As noted in PreCentral.net's forums, the 'webOS Reset Doctor' has been leaked. It includes the webOS root image. From the article: 'Code-inclined individuals on the PreCentral forums have already cracked open the ROM and are getting an unfettered glimpse at the Palm's new platform, which, for the layman, means it should open the doors for some crazy Pre hacking and possibly hint, by way of unfinished / unused code, at what's to come for the platform — and, if we're really lucky, maybe someone will be able to look at this and move us one step closer to an unlocked Pre that could jump onto Verizon's network. Amusingly, you also get to see all the comments left by the devs in the code, guaranteeing a few good chuckles from others who can relate.'" People have already uncovered icons for MSN and AOL, as well as references to the Palm Eos, a rumored successor to the Centro line.
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Palm's webOS Root Image Leaks Out

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  • The benefits of a real smartphone with the convenience of a monopoly provider doesn't quite do it for me.
    • More likely a Pre killer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pushf popf (741049)
      At the risk of being branded a heretic, if I wanted a crappy computer with a tiny screen and keyboard, I'd buy a Sinclair.

      Why does every chunk of plastic in the world want to be my computer?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ArcherB (796902)

        At the risk of being branded a heretic, if I wanted a crappy computer with a tiny screen and keyboard, I'd buy a Sinclair.

        Why does every chunk of plastic in the world want to be my computer?

        Because you can't put your computer in your shirt pocket and take it with you everywhere you go. It's not about trying to be your computer. It's about having a device like your computer with you at all times.

        • by pushf popf (741049) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @11:53AM (#28280557)
          It's about having a device like your computer with you at all times.

          I have a device like my computer with me at all times when I want to be near a computer.

          It's my computer.

          If people only realized how much crap they've been programmed to "need", there would be riots in the streets, complete with pitchforks and burning torches.

          Nobody really cares if you buy an iPhone or anything else as long as it ensures that you'll pay them $50/month forever, for a "data plan".

          Just for an example, most of the Northeast US has great water. A lot of it is some of the best water on the planet. We still buy it @ $1+/bottle and it's a huge industry based on nothing except marketing-created need.

          Has anybody besides me noticed that the goal of almost every business is to get you to pay them every month for something you don't need and never new you wanted until they decided for you?
          • by ArcherB (796902)

            I like having (most of) the power of my computer in the palm of my hand, wherever I go. I enjoy being able to browse the web, play a quick game or send some emails as I'm waiting for a table or out on a smoke break.

            If you don't like this sort of thing, then don't buy one of these. May I recommend the JitterBug. [jitterbug.com]

            • If you don't like this sort of thing, then don't buy one of these. May I recommend the JitterBug.

              I know it was intended as a small poke, but a small light single-purpose device that performs flawlessly is miles ahead of a complex expensive device that does a bunch of stuff poorly.

              Just to make things clear, I'm not a Luddite, and actually like (and develop) really cool technology. I just find it amusing that people will just about drool over the capabilities of a small device that wouldn't make it as
              • by ivan256 (17499) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @12:56PM (#28281555)

                Call me when it has excellent voice and/or thought recognition and a non-intrusive wide-screen HUD with a good refresh rate.

                In the meantime you'll... what? Lug around a big-assed laptop (big-assed netbook) that does way more than you need?

                If a phone can provide ready access to text-based communication, basic reference materials, and simple knobs on a remote computer (along with making phone calls), it has replaced my need to lug a full computer around. If it can play some games and run some basic apps too, then it's just gravy. If it's only a mediocre phone, it's still miles ahead of a simple phone that does nothing but make calls flawlessly. For starters, only carrying one device is worth it alone. But also, the secondary features have surpassed the ability to make calls as the primary function. Phone calls are practically obsolete in many scenarios. I can go days without even using my phone as a phone, since it has provided me with more convenient forms of communication. (Show me how any of that is because of marketing.)

                So let me ask you: Why does a device have to be the second coming of Jesus before you'll consider it? It takes more than saying "I'm not a Luddite" to actually not be a Luddite. It seems to me that you're resistant to the adoption of the non-phone features of these new devices as the primary function of the device. Don't think of them as general purpose computers. Hell, many of them aren't even marketed that way. Instead look at the way they can make your life easer... Starting by helping you ditch that man-purse that you carry your current computing device around in.

    • by Em Ellel (523581)

      Will this make be an iPhone killer?

      The benefits of a real smartphone with the convenience of a monopoly provider doesn't quite do it for me.

      Doubt it. You can't kill stupidity - general crowd will always go for style over substance. The best Palm can hope for is getting the geek crowd that actually understands why Pre is better, but even they can frequently be swayed by the "ooooh - shiny".

      -Em

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rho (6063)

        Why is the Pre better? Can you give specific examples?

        • by hax0r_this (1073148) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @11:02AM (#28279915)
          Keyboard, multi-tasking and a much more open development model. To name a few.
          • by rho (6063) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @11:51AM (#28280531) Homepage Journal

            The keyboard, to me, is a wash. Some like it, some like the iPhone's virtual keyboard. It's a matter of preferences.

            As for the others, they're potential benefits. Open development model? Linux has that, but it didn't help it take the world by storm. Multi-tasking? Sure, I suppose it would be better in some theoretical sense, but you're making a judgement based on brochure bullet-points. That's why I asked for specific examples. Is it a better email platform? I don't know. Better casual gaming platform? I don't know. Better music player? I don't know. Better development platform? I don't know.

            We don't know because it's brand new and we don't know much about it, and certainly don't know anything long-term. The iPhone is a known entity, with a decently long track record, and therefore we know the pros and cons. With the Pre you can assume a bunch of benefits from the bullet-points, but they're just guesses.

            I say this as a satisfied Blackberry user, so I'm not fanboying the iPhone.

            • by ivan256 (17499)

              As an iPhone owner who knows many other iPhone owners, let me say that I don't know anybody who likes the iPhone virtual keyboard. Many people tolerate it, or don't mind it, but nobody likes it.

              There are two reasons that the iPhone is doing so well against the Blackberry (which held a seemingly unapproachable dominant market position before). The main one is that Blackberries don't have end-user friendly plans. Carriers charge a hefty "blackberry fee" that is far and away more expensive than the iPhone plan

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                I have an HTC Fuze, before you make massive changes to its software stack it blows hard [blownfuze.org]. It does more or less the same stuff as the iPhone and then some (for example it's got a hardware keyboard, and multitasking) but the iPhone has one thing that no other phone has, the sexiest interface. Even the TouchFlo 3D II snuck unto the new software image is chunky at best and when you are multitasking the experience can be like computing by postcard. Just see what the phone interface performance is like with Age of

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by James McP (3700)

              Multitasking is a big, big benefit, assuming you're an internet-over-phone user. (And really, that's the target market. Not iphone users, net-phone users.) Right now if I surf the net on my phone it takes 5-10 seconds after I hit a link for a simple page to render and up to 30 seconds for an image laden one. I'm twiddling my thumbs (literally) in the meantime. With the WebOs I can fire up three or four web instances to cycle between loaded content, open up a game or use another app and get the web page

          • by Kelbear (870538)

            I would definitely prefer a keyboard over the iphone's virtual keyboard.

            Multi-tasking is potentially useful. Stat-tracking applications and IM-applications in the background could be handy. Hopefully someone will take the initiative to provide these for use.

            However, I'm not that optimistic about the open development model. Apple has immense momentum going with Itunes and the Appstore. The more open development model is more attractive for those who just want to put out a nice useful tool for the public good

  • by schnell (163007) <me@schnellCOBOL.net minus language> on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @09:14AM (#28278383) Homepage

    If we're really lucky, maybe someone will be able to look at this and move us one step closer to an unlocked Pre that could jump onto Verizon's network.

    I thought people would eventually learn this after all the discussion of "why can't I move my iPhone to Verizon?" In the US, Verizon and Sprint use CDMA. Each phone has to be developed for each specific network. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM, the worldwide standard where phones can be "unlocked" and moved to other networks (as long as the phone support the frequencies used by those networks). So don't hold your breath waiting for a Verizon Pre.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As you just answered yourself.. Sprint and Verizon use CDMA. The Pre being on Sprint means that it jumping to Verizon is very possible and is in fact nothing like the iPhone.

      • by _merlin (160982) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @10:24AM (#28279347) Homepage Journal

        Yeah, but with the US CDMA networks (and, incidentally KDDI in Japan, the Korean CDMA networks and the recently-decommissioned Australian CDMA network), the subscriber identifier is hardcoded into the handset, and the home network identifier is stored in the handset, but can usually be changed. With GSM/UMTS, the equivalents of both pieces of information (IMSI and home network) are stored in a removable SIM card (in Europe, it's mandatory for it to be replaceable, but I've heard that some devices on T-Mobile USA like automated weather stations have it soldered onto the board).

        So to switch networks with a GSM/UMTS handset, you need to "unlock" the handset (tell it to accept a SIM card with a different home network to the one that it's "locked" to) and then swap in a new SIM, and it should all be good, provided the handset can tune the frequencies you need.

        But with a CDMA handset, you need to "unlock" the phone (convincing it to allow you to change the home network identifier), and change the home network identifier. That's the easy part. You now need to get the subscriber identifier out of the handset and convince the new carrier to register it for you. They're usually very reluctant to do this - they want to sell you a locked-down handset with their customised firmware.

        So while technically incorrect - you actually can switch networks with a CDMA handset - his point still stands - it's practically impossible due to the pigheaded attitude prevalent at the carriers.

        • by CompMD (522020)

          Also, some time ago, Verizon publicly declared they will permit any compatible CDMA device on their network.

        • by terrymr (316118)

          I've even had companies that sell rebranded sprint service refuse to activate a sprint branded phone on their network, claiming the system they use to activate phones with the sprint network won't accept ESNs from sprint branded phones.

        • What would be the point of putting a Pre on the Verizon network? The whole reason people wanted to put their iPhones on T-Mobile is that they could get it so much cheaper.

          But with Sprint being cheaper than Verizon, and Sprint phones being able to roam on Verizon's towers, why would anybody want to move their Pre to Verizon? That'd be paying extra for absolutely no reason.

    • by corsec67 (627446)

      Sprint absorbed Nextel, which isn't CDMA or GSM, but is iDen. They are phasing it out, but last year I got what turned out to be a Nextel phone from Sprint since CDMA doesn't interfere with radios as much.

      iDen is similar to GSM in terms of interfering with radios.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by park3r (833325)
      I read that the Palm Pre will hit Verizon in about six months [engadget.com] .

      While you're right about moving phones between carriers, it doesn't seem to matter in this case.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Wrong... Verizon and Sprint are CDMA. All you have to do to put a Sprint phone on the Verizon network is for Verizon to activate it.
      What I don't get is why is everyone so hot for it to move to Verizon.
      Sprint is several hundred dollars a year cheaper for the same plan. I have had no problems with converage on Sprint and there network is actually pretty fast.
      As far as customer support I have not had any issues with them.
      I wonder how much of the Sprint hate is left over and how much of it is current. And don't

      • What I don't get is why is everyone so hot for it to move to Verizon.

        Probably because the people who complain live in areas where Verizon is perceived to provide a more reliable signal than Sprint. Might it have something to do with the scores of network technicians portrayed in Verizon's television ads?

        • by eln (21727)

          Probably because the people who complain live in areas where Verizon is perceived to provide a more reliable signal than Sprint. Might it have something to do with the scores of network technicians portrayed in Verizon's television ads?

          That's why I won't use Verizon...if all their techs are busy following that one guy around, how are they ever going to find time to fix the network?

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          I vote for the ads. Frankly Verizon is the least geek friendly carrier out there. I don't like AT&T because of their politics involving things like community Fiber and Wifi. Anyone remember what they did in New Orleans? After the hurricane they offered the police the use of one of their buildings until New Orleans started to work on a community WiFi system then kicked them out. Or their statements on net neutrality?

      • by Em Ellel (523581)

        What I don't get is why is everyone so hot for it to move to Verizon.

        I've owned Sprint phones, Verizon phones, and currently AT&T phones. I can tell you this about Verizon:
        .
        Their service sucks - stupidity, bordering on maliciousness
        Their handset selection sucks - they never have anything decent or anything recent
        They love to cripple what little they DO have.
        They are expensive compared to others.
        .
        All that said, I'd switch back to Verizon in a heartbeat if they had a decent phone (and Pre seems like a great phone).Why? Because unlike AT&T or Sprint, their service actua

        • by Zerth (26112)

          Everything you said is true.

          One caveat, Verizon doesn't seem to cripple the newer blackberries, although they are dog slow about approving OS updates. Any BB put out in the last year that has a full GPS is usually unlocked for other mapping applications. Ditto with mp3 ringtones and bluetooth functionality.

          And unlike other Verizon phones, you can get a dev license from RIM for 30 bucks and write your own code without asking mother-may-I.

    • by Kohenkatz (1166461) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @09:48AM (#28278791) Homepage Journal
      Verizon will let you use ANY device on their network that conforms to the CDMA specifications. See http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/27/verizon-wireless-opens-network-to-any-apps-any-device-in-2008/ [engadget.com] This most likely includes the Pre, even without any modifications.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Unfortunately, this is not completely true. They wouldn't let me have a Sprint Touch Pro. I knew several people that did it while their *228 loophole was open. They told me that Sprint phones won't work on Verizon (we all know that's untrue). I had completely reprogrammed the phone with all of VZW's info. I went through all sorts or techs for a period of 2 weeks until I got so disgusted I left VZW and went to Sprint. I know that others have been more fortunate than me and have successfully activated o

    • by ZaMoose (24734)

      Uhh, and the Pre is sold by Sprint, thus nuking your point (from orbit).

    • by Em Ellel (523581)

      I thought people would eventually learn this after all the discussion of "why can't I move my iPhone to Verizon?" In the US, Verizon and Sprint use CDMA. Each phone has to be developed for each specific network. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM, the worldwide standard where phones can be "unlocked" and moved to other networks (as long as the phone support the frequencies used by those networks). So don't hold your breath waiting for a Verizon Pre.

      Just to add to the whole "You Are Wrong" reply crowd - you are wrong - but it is still very hard to transfer handset between Sprint and Verizon. They use same system and people (including myself) used to transfer handsets from Sprint to Verizon all the time - took come hacking (change home network ids and roaming lists), but its not technically impossible and with Verizon being notorious for never having any decent recent handsets, it was a necessity. But a number of years ago Verizon decided to be nasty an

  • I wonder if this will help Apple launch a legal assault regarding the Pre's ability to masquerade as an iPod?
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      I really doubt that they will launch any legal assault.
      Palm probably has a patent on syncing a PDA device with a PC or some such thing. Apple will at best just change the software so it doesn't work or will leave it. Other devices already sync with iTunes and Apple makes money when you buy music so why bother with a law suit?

      • by Em Ellel (523581)

        I really doubt that they will launch any legal assault.
        Palm probably has a patent on syncing a PDA device with a PC or some such thing. Apple will at best just change the software so it doesn't work or will leave it. Other devices already sync with iTunes and Apple makes money when you buy music so why bother with a law suit?

        You can't sync DRMed music from iTunes to Pre - so I doubt sales on iTunes is much of a motivator (non-DRMed music on iTunes store is a lot more expensive than on their competitors like AmazonMP3)

        More likely knowing Apple's big brother mentality, they will do it in the Microsoft fashion - just introduce little changes that will break the Pre functionality and claim ignorance.

        -Em

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          iTunes is moving to or already has moved to all DRM free music and they still do sell a good amount of it. I did say they might block it in software but I see no chance they will block it in court. They could loose, it will cost money, and really could be some nasty PR for them. It could even push interest in anti-trust.

    • I wonder if this will help Apple launch a legal assault regarding the Pre's ability to masquerade as an iPod?

      Sega, Chamberlain, and Lexmark tried and failed to block Genesis-compatible game cartridges, LiftMaster-compatible garage door openers, and Lexmark-compatible toner cartridges in U.S. court, both before and after the DMCA. So I wonder what legal theory Apple might use for this.

    • I don't think there is any chance of Apple suing Palm over this. It's much more likely that they will release a 'security update' to iTunes which 'accidentally' causes it to reject the Pre.
    • Apple would be VERY foolish to take legal action against Palm. Palm can BURY Apple in mobile patents.

  • by keeegan (1526067) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @09:32AM (#28278583)
    What does the phone's rom have to do with this? I've unlocked sprint treos for verizon. You just have to reprogram the prl on the cdma chip. No firmware/OS modification involved. Has something drastically changed, or does the op just not understand?
  • Amusingly, you also get to see all the comments left by the devs in the code, guaranteeing a few good chuckles from others who can relate

    Really? How many people could relate to finding just one comment in an assembly language module?

    MOV 1750 # RIP JSB

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hognoxious (631665)
      Me, but only because I saw it mentioned in a book (Code Complete?) as an example of a bad comment.
  • by blcamp (211756) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @09:36AM (#28278635) Homepage

    [...] which, for the layman, means [...]

    A layman wouldn't know what anything on this website would mean, much less TFA.

    • Basically it doesn't mean much for the layman. The iPhone has been hacked over and over many times. Developers/hackers/uber-geeks alike now have another cool piece of software to rip apart and discover and then make cool mods & bolt-ons. It's just a lot of fun. If you are only into using the phone for its intended purpose then this will be of little value to you.
  • by Qubit (100461) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @09:38AM (#28278661) Homepage Journal

    Cracking open the ROM is nifty and all (although it might cause issues for you later if you want to develop on the platform), but what I still want to know is where are the Palm Pre Linux kernel sources?.

    I've looked all over the Palm sites and even Googled [google.com] for it [google.com], but I haven't come up with anything but speculation. I can't believe that they're using a prebuilt kernel from TI, so what gives?

    • by zlogic (892404)

      GPL demands the sources available to be available to paying customers. The customers are free to upload them to The Pirate Bay, but if they don't, the only option to look at them is to buy the device. A lot of router and modem manufacturers provide GPL'd sources on an included CD.

      Now if Palm doesn't include the sources or provide a link to download them, it's a different story.

      • by ivan256 (17499)

        Kernel sources =/= OS sources.

        Just because it runs the Linux kernel doesn't mean all their code must be GPL.

    • I refer you to a comment [slashdot.org] I made downthread.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      They're not required to put the source on the web, just to provide it when requested. (And even then, only by paying customers, i.e. customers who have the compiled version.) Have you called up someone at Palm and requested it yet?

      • by Qubit (100461)

        Have you called up someone at Palm and requested it yet?

        Yes (see my post up in the thread).

  • People have already uncovered icons for MSN and AOL

    Where's the DMCA crew when you need them?

  • But Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Paul Carver (4555) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @10:12AM (#28279147)

    jump onto Verizon's network

    Is Verizon really that lovable? I know all the iPhone haters are quick to point to AT&T as the worst cell phone carrier, but is there really so much love out there for Verizon?

    For every AT&T phone I've had that supported bluetooth I've never had any trouble moving ringtones and pictures on and off the phone directly from my computer. I had heard that Verizon pretty much always disables features like that in order to force you to use their fee based options. I've never understood how someone who dislikes AT&T could have any love for Verizon.

    I totally understand people rooting for the underdog, but loving Verizon and hating Sprint I just don't understand. Every time a new smartphone comes out it seems there's a huge clamor to use it on some carrier other than the one who's got an exclusive deal for the new phone.

    Are there really any wireless carriers out there that are super awesome great companies who just unfortunately only offer crap phones?

    • Verizon is hateable, not lovable.

      You cannot move ringtones so easily at all. You could use BitPim (which some Verizon workers even recommend), but thats almost a hassle. The only other way is to save the ringtone as a sound and as a ringtone, as sounds can be emailed and then resaved onto the new phone as a sound and/or ringtone.

      Basically everyone's complaining cause verizon's current smartphone selection sucks....two touchscreens and an ancient blackberry. People that have verizon (and get the huge corpora

    • by NekSnappa (803141)
      Where I live AT&T's signal is almost nonexistent. Since my cell is my home phone as well, that makes it a non-starter for me.
    • I keep on hearing from various sources (anecdotally) that Verizon has the best signal coverage, at least in my area. That probably has something to do with it.

      And some people may want to try and move their phones because they can. :)

      • Sprint and Verizon hardware roam on each other's towers. I just switched from Verizon to Sprint, and have not noted any difference in coverage anywhere.

        I can see no point in activating a Pre with Verizon. That's just paying more for the same thing you already have.

  • Mojo is just Palm's mobile version of Dojo. If you want to see more of the foundation of the Javascript programming environment just checkout http://dojocampus.org/ [dojocampus.org]

    It's not Palm's Mojo, but it will give you a good start on how you will do Mojo development.

    Mojo will sure be an iPhone killer, nothing like the limited SDK on the iPhone. How can you compare Cocoa programming to HTML5 and Dojo Javascript. :)

    Looks like what Apple offered first on the iPhone, write Web 2.0 apps and profit. But, they don't seem to

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