Unlocked GSM Pre2 Unlock/Devmode/Appcat Instructions Comments

For anyone else Palm/HP has deemed worthy of sending a sweet free Pre2, this may be of help.

The problem, you see, is that they failed to give any directions on how to get anything done, even getting beyond the activation screens. Are we just supposed to buy a random plan from AT&T or some other GSM carrier in hopes that it will work with the device?

Turns out it’s not at all hard, but it sure would have been nice if there were instructions packed in the shipping box with it! Here’s all it takes to get an unlocked GSM Pre in working condition for deploying test apps to and more.

Please note, these instructions work for a US/North American GSM Unlocked Pre2, steps may vary by carrier, YMMV, etc.

First, you will likely want to upgrade to 2.1 (something I sorely wish I could do with my actual day-to-day VZW phone… grumble) and for that you will need two things: the latest webOS Doctor and placing your phone in devmode.

Let’s start with devmode, as there’s an immediate sense of gratification. Pretty easy, turn the little bastard on and you’re greeted by a “give me a SIM card, man” screen. Ignore this and instead start typing in the secret code from the keypad. The full code is “#DEVMODE#” as typed on the phone’s dial pad. The problem, of course, is that the dial pad isn’t accessible yet. So you have to start with the keypad. Enter the “#” bit, and the dial pad should appear. Once it does, enter the rest (“3386633#”) and tap the green “call” button. You should have entered the Developer Mode app, where you can toggle the devmode status. Do so and agree to the follow up “can I restart Pa?” dialog.

Once it restarts, the phone will be in developer mode, which means some ports are open which allow you to shell into the device, push app installs to it, etc. Right now you can play around in webOS for a moment if you never had before, or you can get back to business.

Next up is getting webOS 2.1 on that sucker. Find the direct JAR download for your device from http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/Webos_Doctor_Versions, which is quicker than Palm/HP’s own form-based finder thing. Once you’ve got it, run it and connect your device. Should be pretty easy to kick off the upgrade process, then you can sit back and take a nap or get a coffee or roast a pig or whatever.

Once that finishes, you may have to do the “#*DEVMODE#” thing again, I forget since I just did it once so far and my memory sucks. Anyway now you will have a 2.1 device with fancy features like voice dial and Exhibition and I think there’s some lawn gnome app or something.

Last cool couple steps on the agenda are getting you access to homebrew and the app cat, which we’ll accomplish by getting ourselves all SDK’d up (grab and install that from https://developer.palm.com/content/resources/develop/sdk_pdk_download.html) then downloading and palm-installing Preware, which you can do here: http://get.preware.org/

After adding Preware, install Impostah (you are going to need to setup Wifi on the device somewhere along the line before you can grab apps from Preware) and run through the Activation wizard. If you already have a profile (on another webOS phone, for instance) I would suggest creating a new profile so as to not muck with the existing one.

After that you will have full access to the App Catalog for your region and should be good to go for adding any commercial or homebrew apps, all the goodness that is webOS.

Pretty rad, eh?

Credit goes to Rod Whitby from webOS Internals for so much of this, including the forum post (http://forums.precentral.net/webos-internals/281075-global-paid-app-catalog-access-new-unlocked-gsm-pre-2-devices-using-impostah.html) that motivated me to run through it all. It was a breeze in the end.

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