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Palm Details WebOS System Updates

Palm WebOS UpdatesPalm has published an interesting document which explains how webOS system updates will work. The support document explains the update process and installation procedures in detail.

In a nutshell, the Pre will check for system updates in the background every 7 days. If one is found, it downloads in the background when connected to a Wi-Fi network or are within high speed data (EVDO) coverage. Once the download is complete the update must install within 7 days when the battery level is above 30%, otherwise the device will continually prompt the user to install and after the fourth alert the system will basically install on its own.

The document is an interesting read and sheds some light on the webOS over the air update process. It is interesting to note that at this point it appears users will have no choice but to install system updates when they become available.

Of course, the same process can also be performed manually by checking the "Updates" application.

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Forces you?

skeezix @ 6/16/2009 12:33:54 PM # Q
Sounds risky. I mean, a user buys something 'as is'; they don't really owe it to anyone to update it if they don't want to. But most peopel will be find with updates as long as they're bug-free and not of the 'up-update' format, where system features are removed over time :)

If it actually forces an update upon the user, that could be risky; what if theres a problem with the update?

Question: Anyone know what frequency users update things like firmware, if its relatively easy and reliable? With the iphone, itunes will prompt you; do most people just say 'sure, go aheadm, right now' or do they wait a few days to see how it worked for everyone else?

The Shadow knows!

RE: Forces you?
skeezix @ 6/16/2009 12:35:25 PM # Q
Goodness gracious. That'll teach me to type quickly on a new keyboard.

un-update not up-update
peoplep -> people
aheadm -> ahead

Sorry.

jeff
The Shadow knows!

RE: Forces you?
SeldomVisitor @ 6/16/2009 12:45:54 PM # Q
If WEBos is based off of WEB servers run by Palm then WEBos won't work without being compatible with those WEB servers of Palm's.

So it's sorta like:

== "You VILL update or you VILL be taken offline!"

RE: Forces you?
BaalthazaaR @ 6/16/2009 1:21:16 PM # Q
SlingMedia does the same thing with their hardware & software. Unfortunately since they got bought out by Dish Network, their firmware updates have been very flaky. They push down updates have resulted in bricked hardware, broken functionality and degraded performance. They also charge $30 for support on any hardware that is older than a year even though it is the firmware caused the problem

Hopefully Palm doesn't follow in those footsteps. A bricked phone is way worse than a bricked entertainment device.

RE: Forces you?
justauser @ 6/16/2009 3:04:39 PM # Q
First thing I do after a fresh Windows install is switch 'auto-update' to 'manual'. Auto-update used to catch me out all the time - system would slow to a snails pace during a resource intensive activity due to background downloads. Often caused a crash during rendering operation.

I imagine an automatic background download on a PHONE is a potential source of similar performance issues (and chewing up bandwidth). Sure hope there are at least SOME configuration options available such as 'only download over WiFi' or 'Prompt before download'

RE: Forces you?
freakout @ 6/16/2009 4:01:17 PM # Q
It's a good thing. The non-tech-savvy masses do not care about updates and genreally don't bother installing them, which leads to support headaches for everyone.

As for the rest of us, we'll find a way around it easily enough if for some reason we want to keep running old firmwares.

RE: Forces you?
jca666us @ 6/16/2009 9:00:17 PM # M Q
it's good until the first bum update that bricks the pre.

Coming soon - iTunes patches?

"Apple designs the hardware and software to provide seamless integration of the iPhone and iPod with iTunes, the iTunes Store, and tens of thousands of apps on the App Store. Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players and, because software changes over time, newer versions of Apple's iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players."

RE: Forces you?
freakout @ 6/17/2009 3:09:24 AM # Q
Updates potentially bricking the Pre are the exact reason Palm put up the webOS Doctor tool in the first place:

http://kb.palm.com/wps/portal/kb/common/article/32759_en.html

As all the hackers have been discovering, the Doc fixes bricked Pres like magic.

Auto updates = good thing.

RE: Forces you?
bhartman34 @ 6/18/2009 7:55:05 PM # Q
If you really wanted to, I don't think it'd be hard to turn the auto-updater off. You'd just have to find the updater package and purge it or reschedule it. You can find the packages here:

http://opensource.palm.com/packages.html

But it's hard for me to see what the big deal is about automatic updates, anyway. Every modern OS has them. It's a little draconian that Palm require that you update, but a) not all updates in Windows are optional either, and b) not even all Linux systems let you pick and choose. My Tivo (Series 2) does the same thing. I can put off an update, but I can't stop one, without doing some major hacking (which would be a lot harder to do on a DVR than it would be on a phone).

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Security Hole?

LiveFaith @ 6/16/2009 2:07:32 PM # Q
This sounds like a security "hole" with a capital W. I know others do this kind of this, but every time I see it I cannot help but think of what happens if a hacker ever gets to that update. Egads.
Pat Horne
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Benefits out way the negatives

anika200 @ 6/17/2009 11:26:04 AM # Q
Seriously People, I cant believe people would not want a company to fix all the problems with the product they released and YOU bought. This is a must. If this were not included I will not buy the phone.

The only thing is Palms reputation for not actually making any updates. If this is the case I predict a huge backlash from customers. Apple has demonstrated that it is very doable to create and install updates and feature enhancements. I expect Palm to do the same as they should.

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