PC World Recognizes Palm and the webOS Homebrew Community



Okay, seriously folks: if you had any doubt as to which smartphone company wants to give you the most flexibility to use your device the way you want to, Palm has just erased any reasonable semblance of it. I’m not sure when this was actually released (maybe I’ve been behind the times a bit lately), but Palm has released the Preware Homebrew Documentation app into the App Catalog (go get it here).

Now I want you to stop and think about this for a moment. Palm has published a document the sole purpose of which is to instruct users on how to install unofficial patches, themes, and apps on their devices. Contrast this with Apple, which offers no way to install apps outside of the official App Store (and now Microsoft with its Marketplace for Windows Phone 7) and has filed a patent on how to make it impossible for users to configure their iOS devices.

webOS is great, but even if it weren’t I’d throw my support behind Palm for this reason alone. And it looks like PC World agrees, but it was their story that prompted me to write this post. They say:

Before Android RIM’s Blackberry platform and Apple’s iOS dominated the market, with offshoots like Palm getting the scraps. In Palm’s case that was a huge shame, because WebOS was everything a mobile OS should have been at the time and wasn’t. For one thing, it was linux. It had true multitasking, multitouch, and it was easily customized via a built in “root” mode (you opened any search field and typed in updownupdownleftrightleftrightselectstart) that allowed you to load custom applications, themes, or whatever else.

Those applications, themes, and whatever else came from a vibrant community of people willing to spend their time to make WebOS better – largely for free. I was new to customizing mobile phones; I can’t count the number of times I posted on the forums about bricking my Pre and had an immediate idea from someone with a fix, usually a fix that worked. It was a pool of experience and willingness to extend a helping hand. It’s one of the best home-grown communities I’ve ever been a part.

Now that Palm’s extended this olive branch to the Palm homebrew community, the community that made it all possible can get something back as well, since the proceeds from each sale will be applied to the development of Preware and other Homebrew applications.

They’re entirely correct, of course: the webOS homebrew community is the best. And they’re also wrong: they say that Palm “extended this olive branch,” which implies a conflict that’s been resolved. That’s incorrect—Palm has always supported the efforts of webOS homebrewers.

In fact, it’s Palm that makes this possible by allowing developer mode in the first place, and the company even encourages such tinkering in more than just a wink-wink sort of way. And by allowing this homebrew app into the App Catalog, not only is Palm letting the folks at webOS Internals reap a little financial benefit, but they’re proving to us once again that they trust us to use our devices as we want. That’s important.

And let’s not forget that HP has a hand in this as well. And so kudos to them at the same time.


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Al, peter zou, Grant Brown, WebOS Internals, Francisco De Jesús and others. Francisco De Jesús said: RT @palm: RT @AboutwebOS: @PCWorld gives a shout out to @Palm and the homebrew community: http://tinyurl.com/2aqdfof #webOS @HP_PC [...]

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