Will Palm Pre Software Updates Be Free?

palm-preOwners of Apple’s iPod Touch have grumbled about paying for software updates in the past. I certainly understand their point when they see iPhone owners get free firmware upgrades. I’m no accountant, nor do I play one on the Internet, but the discrepancy between free and pay-for updates is apparently due to accounting methods used by Apple. So what does this have to do with Palm’s Pre? Surely there will be firmware updates and new software features that Palm will want pushed out. The question is: will you have to pay for them?

The Palm WebOS blog says no, and unless they manufactured the internal Palm presentation they’ve posted, there’s good reason to believe them. The documentation shows that Palm will use “subscription accounting” to recognize revenues from webOS products on a monthly basis over 24-months. The documents specifically state:

“Palm plans to periodically provide new software features free of charge to customers of its webOS products, including the recently announced Palm Pre.”

Considering that the Palm webOS and more specifically, the Synergy function, is completely dependent on non-Palm services, this is positive news. Even if you expected it, it’s good to know. Why? What if, for example, Facebook changes their contact APIs and the Synergy engine needs an update or else loses the ability to gain contact updates from Facebook? Considering how fluid the web is these days, I’d want to be sure I don’t have to pay for a software change to keep me in sync. (Thanks for the tip, Rob!)

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