Palm is playing a game of one-upsmanship with Apple by releasing a webOS software update that restores the ability for the Pre to synch with iTunes.
When it was released, consumers could use Apple's media software to manage and transfer multimedia files to the Pre, and the handset even showed up as an iPod in iTunes. Apple blocked this capability with its 8.2.1 version, but the 1.1 version of webOS gets around this restriction. The game of cat and mouse will likely continue when Apple releases its next version of iTunes.
The webOS update also brings some improvements for the mobile professional, as the Exchange ActiveSync implementation now supports multiple policies including password requirement, inactivity timeout, and the ability to wipe the device remotely. Additionally, when users reply to e-mails in HTML formats with an Exchange account, the formatting of the original message is now retained in the reply.
One of the most appealing features of the device when it was released was Synergy, a contact manager that draws in information from multiple Web sources into a single finger-friendly interface. But some users complained this was a little rough around the edges, and it could lead to duplicate contacts. The latest firmware fixes some of these issues, and friends that are added or removed from Facebook or Google Contacts on the Web will be added or removed from the phone.
Football fans will be happy to get the new firmware because it comes with a Sprint application that lets users watch or listen to live National Football League games. The software also adds enhancements to the user interface and improvements to the Pre's calendar. The 1.1 version of webOS is available now, and it will be pushed out over the air to Pre customers.
Most companies are just starting the hard work of mobilizing workforces by bringing the software they use to smartphones. InformationWeek analyzed this issue in an independent report, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).