If you own a Palm Pre, or just like to follow what is new with Palm’s (uber cool) new webOS platform, you may have noticed that Palm announced yesterday an update (v1.1) of webOS.
I spoke to John Traynor about it a couple of days ago, and when he went through the list of improvements in v1.1, and after he explained to me all the things that were improved under the hood, I told him that while I understood why this was being labeled a “minor” release (going from 1.0.3), I consider this a major step forward for Palm in terms of the “friendliness” of webOS in the enterprise.
When I went to the Updates section of my Pre, the software told me (as expected) that there was an update available….it came in around 86 megabytes. That’s a pretty decent size for a “minor” release, speaking to the number of improvements that were being pushed out. Let’s look though at the key enterprise improvements. Through Exchange ActiveSync, companies can now enforce policies for:
- Remote wipe
- PIN/password requirements
- Inactivity timeout
- Improved certificate handling, and more
The more I share with you from the InformationWeek article:
- IT administrators can ensure a password is assigned to the phone. Administrators can also specify the minimum length of the password; Inactivity timeout.
- IT administrators can ensure that an inactive phone goes into a locked state after a certain time period. You cannot set a higher timeout interval for your phone, but you can set a shorter interval; Remote Wipe.
- IT Administrators can remotely erase all data on a phone from their Exchange console.
- IT administrators can also have the device wipe itself if an incorrect password is entered more than a specified number of times.
This is great news, in my (not so humble) opinion, for IT administrators. In less than two months, Palm has done a nice job of raising the viability of the Pre in the enterprise. This is very important, particularly in the context of the consumerization of enterprise mobility. As more and more companies are looking to get a better handle of mobility expenses, one of the things they are doing is allowing or even encouraging their employees to bring their own devices into the organization, thereby helping reduce the costs of service (or at least the cost of purchasing devices).
However, individual liability of devices does have its own problems, particularly if companies don’t have policies (and tools) in place to manage these individually liable devices. By providing this new functionality within webOS, Palm has done a lot to make the individually liable Pre a better “corporate citizen.” That said, I am looking forward to seeing mobility management companies be able to provide even greater levels of device, application, and service management capabilities from their respective cross-platform consoles. That will happen over time as the Mojo SDK matures.
So there you have it. One small step for man, one giant step for…oh wait a minute. Nevermind. Kudos to John by the way for “Oh, and one more thing: Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync.” Gotta love the Jobs-esque approach…