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Summary:

Palm Pre and Pixi owners may be wondering about future updates to the webOS platform, given the looming takeover of Palm by HP. The “merger” won’t take place for a few months but it’s reasonable to wonder if existing Palm customers will receive phone updates.

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In the rapid-paced smartphone space platform updates are a big selling point for phones and a concern for existing phone customers. Platforms need updates to add features and squash bugs and customers are often watching and waiting for the next version to get released. Palm Pre and Pixi owners may be wondering about future updates to the webOS platform, given the looming takeover of Palm by HP . The “merger” won’t take place for a few months but it’s reasonable to think the webOS development effort at Palm is in a wait and see mode. HP is going to control things soon, and that’s not a good climate for near-term advancement of the webOS platform.

HP didn’t allay any concerns current Palm customers have with the initial statement by CEO Mark Hurd that HP “didn’t buy Palm to be in the smartphone business.” Smartphones like the Pre and Pixi were not even mentioned by HP about the forward plans for the webOS platform. HP quickly back-pedaled and cleared up the confusion by the statement, and stated that smartphones did play a future role in HP’s webOS effort.

It is a legitimate question given lack of solid information about HP’s plans for the platform, and Palm’s current flux waiting for the takeover to happen– will there be any future updates for the Palm Pre and Pixi? No one involved wants to go on record to address this, but all parties involved make it clear that it is “business as usual”, implying that future versions of webOS will appear for existing customers at some point. That’s not the same as it actually happening, though.

Palm hasn’t set the smartphone world on fire with massive sales of its handsets, but there are thousands of webOS phone owners affected by the merger. It doesn’t help matters that Palm has already seen some key webOS developers leave the company prior to the HP merger being finalized. There are also some major telcos with a stake in this situation.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): To Win In the Mobile Market, Focus On Consumers

  1. Well hopefully, HP beefs up the next generation Pre and Pixi with some serious hardware. Like a processor faster than 1GHz, high megapixel front-face and back camera, small and larger HD screen, micro SD slot, an optional screen keyboard, higher capacity battery, voice recognition, with apps that tap and communicate with all of HP’s latest webOS powered printers, tablets, and other devices. The wireless charger is an advanced feature and the webOS operating system is far more advanced than the competition. Now it just needs faster hardware and longer battery life.

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  2. An update (1.4.5) due in a couple of week has been confirmed already. Developers have been sent notices. PDK support for Pixie is the big deal in this one. Palm held a party for developers at the WWDC to show them how easily they can port their apps to webOS.

    http://www.webosroundup.com/2010/06/palm-pdk-party-draws-one-helluva-crowd-at-wwdc/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+webosroundup+%28webOSroundup%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

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    1. Nice! :D I just bought a (non-plus) Pixi this week and am having a blast hacking it up (in the Linux sense, not the evil black hat breaking security sense); this is great news for me.

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  3. Ahem. Palm was never any good at providing updates anyway. I’ve used Palm devices for years, and always assume them to be toasters as far as Palm is concerned. Once the warranty expires, I’m completely on my own.

    Hans

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