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Palm WebOS Boosts Enterprise Features

The 1.2 version of webOS improves calendar syncing, e-mail capabilities, and paves the way for paid apps, but doesn't restore the ability to sync media with iTunes.

Palm has pushed out the 1.2 webOS software, and the update could make the Pre smartphone more enterprise-friendly.

The calendar has received numerous tweaks to make scheduling easier to handle. For example, if a calendar note has a phone number or address in it, users can now tap it to dial or get directions via Google Maps. Also, when users respond to meeting invitations, the responses are now correctly sent back to the organizer.

Mobile messaging has also received a boost, and the e-mail application will always enforce security policies when trying to access Microsoft Exchange accounts. Those with multiple Exchange accounts can now use all of these accounts on the device, and the update makes it easier for IT departments to allow webOS devices to receive corporate mail. Additionally, the software update will enable users to search through e-mails, but it can only return results from the To, From, Cc, and Subject fields.

Mobile professionals may appreciate the enhancements to the in-car Bluetooth, as the 1.2 version of webOS enables users to transfer contacts to Toyota and Lexus car kits. Users will also be prompted if they want to connect to a previously paired car kit, and consumers can also now connect to a computer even if the device name is left blank.

The update also shows that Palm may be done with its game of cat-and-mouse with iTunes, as the 1.2 version does not restore iTunes compatibility. Palm had been essentially spoofing its vendor ID to make iTunes think it was an iPod, and Apple blocked this feature with software updates. Palm had been releasing over-the-air software updates to restore this functionality, but it may be done with that now that the USB Implementers Forum said Apple can block Palm from using iTunes in that manner.

The 1.2 version also paves the way for paid applications in the App Catalog, as users can now enter their credit card information into their Palm profile. Palm has not specified when paid apps will hit its virtual store, but it is widely expected to happen within a few weeks.

The Pre can now match Apple's iPhone in mobile multimedia, as the 1.2 software enables users to download songs from Amazon's MP3 store over the air. Pre users should receive a notification of the update over the next few days, and the new firmware can be downloaded over the air.

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