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Palm To Delete User Apps With webOS 1.2 Update?

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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Palm is reportedly working on an OS update that will enable it to do an Amazon or Apple on users and delete applications uploaded to its Pre handset

It has emerged that Palm may be working on Pre operating system (OS) update that will enable it to delete applications from a user’s Palm Pre.

The feature, which emerged as Palm reportedly leaked an early edition of an update to its webOS running on the Pre, is likely meant as malware-protection, but nonetheless brings to mind Amazon’s recent misstep in reaching into users’ Kindle devices.

According to reports by Pre users who say they’ve received the update, called webOS 1.2., there are two particularly interesting changes.

One likely change is that LEDs built into the Pre will now notify users of new emails, and other events.

“With this feature, the LEDs that are on both sides of the Gesture Area will blink to notify users of events. Users will have the option to turn this on or off,” reported Brighthand.com, which offers a video demonstration said to be made by one of the recipients of the “leaked” OS update.

The other new feature is less likely to be as universally welcome as the first. It creates the ability to remove applications from a user’s device. Presumably, the feature is intended for Palm to protect users from malware or bugs.

According to the Palm Info Centre, when this happens, users will receive a notice stating: “Palm had to delete this application from the App Catalogue and your device. If you paid for this app, your money will be refunded.”

The Palm Pre, the first device to use webOS, arrived on 6 June, and by 23 July Palm had already pushed out webOS 1.1, which offered several enterprise-friendly enhancements, as well as the ability for the Pre to sync with iTunes, Apple’s proprietary music app. But by 15 July, Apple had updated iTunes to block this functionality.

The cat-and-mouse game has since resulted in Palm filing a complaint against Apple to the USB Implementers Forum.

When Palm will release webOS 1.2, which Palm Info Centre reports will additionally offer 9,000 other modifications, is still unknown.

And the handset maker has also recently met with criticism from analysts for not highlighting the Pre’s ability to collect information about the mobile phone’s use and its whereabouts to users.