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HP cans WebOS 2 updates for older Palms

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WebOS fans are up in arms after HP admitted that older Palm-branded products will not gain the access to the updated operating system that will ship with the upcoming Veer and Pre 3 smartphones.

It won't be the first time a manufacturer has frozen out older hardware - Apple's original iPhone can't be officially upgraded to iOS 4, and that's just one example out of many - but Palm fans seem particularly peeved.

They have a point. When HP announced WebOS 2.0, it promised: "The WebOS 2.0 update will be delivered to existing customers in the coming months, with exact timing to be announced at a later date."

According to HP's Palm support site this morning, only the recently released Pre 2 has updates available for WebOS 2.x. All the others - the orginal Pre, the Pixi and their 'Plus' successors - are at 1.x.

HP's answer, relayed by fansite PreCentral, is that it can't get the new features to run smoothly on the old hardware, which isn't an unreasonable argument - had HP not said it would port the updates to old products.

But undoubtedly HP really hopes that existing Pre and Pixi owners will upgrade their harware to Pre 3 and Veer, just as many iPhone owners moved after a couple of years to the iPhone 3GS or the iPhone 4.

And with a mere two per cent of the US smartphone market - and almost certainly a lot less elsewhere - it needs to encourage sales if it wants WebOS to be as loved by consumers and app developers as iOs, Android and even Windows Phone 7. ®

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