Install the webOS 2.1 App Catalog onto older devices, promo codes for everyone! | webOS Nation

Install the webOS 2.1 App Catalog onto older devices, promo codes for everyone! 46

by Adam Marks Mon, 23 May 2011 10:48 pm EDT

Although webOS 2.0 has been available for over six months, first on the Pre2 and more recently on the Veer, the vast majority of webOS users are still sitting on webOS 1.4.5. Aside from not having access to all the wonderful webOS 2.0 goodies, those users--along with the Verizon Pre2 owners still on webOS 2.0.1--have also been shut out from using the Promo codes that were added as part of the recent update to the App Catalog. Well fret not, 1.4.5 and 2.0.1 users, as PreCentral reader Alex Zipkin has discovered a way to load up the 2.1 App Catalog on your devices, opening the door for you, too, to use Promo Codes to install apps. Unfortunately, while you can access the 2.1 version of the catalog, this process will not allow you to actually access any 2.0- or 2.1-specific apps. Your device will still pass along your webOS version to the App Catalog and only show the apps compatible with your device.

But before we get to the instructions, we need to point out a few important caveats that webOS 1.4.5 users need to be aware of before venturing down this path. Since webOS 2.0 broke out the app update mechanism from within the App Catalog to a separate Software Manager app, there will be no way to access App updates while you have the 2.0 App Catalog installed (without manually loading and updating each individually app). In addition, you will not be able to access the "Preferences & Accounts" section of the App Catalog, so make sure your payment options are up date first. But don’t get too worried about these issues, as a simple reboot of your device will revert your App Catalog back to your older webOS version, with no permanent harm being done.

Step-by-step instructions are after the break.

  1. Download to the webOS Doctor for the recently released HP Veer. [download link] This doctor contains the new App Catalog IPK - you can not use a Pre2 doctor, as it still contained the non-updated version without the Promo codes functionality.
  2. Using a program such as WinRAR to extract files from a compressed .JAR file, locate and extract the /resources/webos.tar file from the Doctor. Within that compressed file, locate and extract the nova-cust-image-broadway.rootfs.tar.gz file. Finally, within that file, locate and extract the usr/palm/ipkgs/ file.
  3. Connect your phone to a PC and access the USB drive
  4. Copy over the IPK file to your phone and then properly eject the phone from USB mode
  5. Using either Preware (using the Install Package functionality in the Application dropdown menu) or Internalz Pro, install the IPK to your phone
    • Note that you can use webOS Quick Install as well, but since you will need to repeat this process every time you reboot your device, you are better off having an on-device installation option
  6. The next time you launch the App Catalog, it should be the dark gray webOS 2.1 App Catalog with all its Promo Code goodness, although the app icon will still remain as the Palm shopping back and not get updated to the new blue HP icon.
  7. If you need to revert back to the original App Catalog for your webOS version, just perform a full or luna restart. Yes, that means any restart will wipe out the catalog - your apps will remain.
  8. Repeat these steps any time you want to use a promo code.

That's it. It's not the most elegant of solutions, but if you're hungering to take advantage of some promo codes but don't want to force your phone onto 2.1, this is your solution. Also, do note that the App Catalog still recognizes the proper device version, so you're not going to be able to install 2.x-only apps on your 1.4.5 phone. Thems the breaks when you're hacking.

Thanks to Alex for the tip!


Perfect that means the code I won yesterday can be used... now to see if the program is only for 2.0 or higher!

Officially it is, since it uses hybrid functionality, but Palm refuses to recognize that many hybrid apps work fine on 1.4.5, so you might get it to work.

Downloading a whole doctor?
can the wizards in the room create a script to download just the appCat ipk?
I discovered httpunzip the other day on and copying either of these novacom driver installer scripts seems the most logical way to proceed forward. Maybe JR or Puff themselves will step up as the wizards of choice.

It's quite a waste for a **** ton of people to download the whole Veer doctor just for 1 small ipk. This method could just download what you need, a (by comparison) tiny ipk.

Cool beans! I just loaded up my main profile on a Pre2 for the first time yesterday so i'm square, excited that the majority of webOS users now have a path forward for promo codes at least! (Hint: HP you can do this yourself! Maybe in Regardless, totally -- thanks Alex!

The reason you have to download the Veer doctor is legal reasons. No one but Palm/HP can distribute webOS files. By you yourself downloading the doctor and extracting the IPK, no laws are being broken. If someone hosts the IPK themselves, laws are broken.

Homebrew in the webOS world is all about white hat.

Doesn't make it any less stupid though.

I'm pretty hurt by your comment.

if you follow the link aforereferenced, it's clear i am _not_ advocating redistribution. Nor is webOS-internals, who provides the tools to download selective parts of the doctor in the link above.
To summarize: It is neither legally nor bandwidth-wise required to download a whole doctor for that one [tiny] file.
Damn, since I got -3 and you got plus 4, clearly I didn't write well, but i'd appreciate it if you guys fixed your votes on my original post.

Zhephree: You didn't get it, a single file within a webOS Doctor hosted on HP can be downloaded, and this approach is used by PuffTheMagic and Jason's novacom driver installers :D

So, it could be used as well in this case with the app catalog ipk!

I love homebrew hackers... but hate HP's slackers.

Come on HP get on the ball and support your customers.

They're too busy with webOS 3.0 to worry about you (or 2.x customers, for that matter).

while i think that's true, i'm all for them being more worried about 3.0. It's the future of WebOS. Make it shine!

Unfortunately, they keep repeating themselves, abandoning a new group of devices/users with each new release. And since they are constantly scrambling to get new releases out, they are buggy, and then they move on to the next release and forget about those bugs too.

Kind of cynical view, but that's what has happened so far.

I used to love WebOS/Palm products because I "COULD HACK" them.

But now I dislike them as I constantly "HAVE TO HACK" them.

The existence of the homebrew community has became a excuse for HP to constantly ditch segments of their customers as homebrew will come to the rescue.

It just shouldn't have to be this hard to use a promo code, access the app-catalog for international users, update the OS, etc... I am a professional developer and can easily perform the hacks but with family and other commitments I simply don't have the time.

I can't imagine the corporate world migrating to WebOS if product support requires running Preware and installing hacks. Corporations are not going to hack their devices.

HP needs to support products such they don't have to be constantly hacked.


Not quite "everyone" is it... I'm sure this doesn't help those who can't even get 2.x specific apps, namely older devices that have been upgraded to 2.x via homebrew.

Many promo codes are for apps that work on 1.4.5. As I said in the article, this only allows you to get access to USING promo codes, it doesn't get you access to incompatible apps with your webOS Version

i am just going to wait around for the next webos device that lands in the UK, i'll be honest patching and modding has made my already slow pre-, even slower.

I hate to say it, but spending more money by downloading apps and buying accessories for my Pre+ has been given me a sour taste in my mouth lately. And quite honestly, I'm done doing work-around solutions just so my device can be up to date with other webOS devices (and they're not even on par with other phones).

Sorry, I had to vent. I'm just getting frustrated now, and I'm a patient dude.

I have to agree with KingNoso11, I will wait untill the Pre 3 either does or dose not appear on Sprint

If Not I'm out of here.

Sorry to all those developers out there, but why would I spend my money on something I won't beable to use.

One would think that HP/Palm would have figuared that out.

Thanks! I will definitely do this -- relatively simple, risk-free ('default' is a reboot away) & means I can finally enjoy the Promo Code goodness!

Nice, and it's easily reversable too: just reboot your device! I like it.

I discovered this back in April and reported it on my blog and in the forums.... and
it's kinda funny how it just now gets light, and its because of someone other then me.. I also got other apps working on 1.4.5... Did Alex?

mmm... ok, this is just UNFAIR.
This was reported long ago by user PatrickC in the forum:

Who the heck is "Alex" and why is he taking credit for this?

because he emailed us about it!

so did I

i honestly recommend everyone with a legacy device just to doctor it to 2.0; my experienced with it on my Pre Minus has been quite enjoyable. If anybody plans on buying any HP device, check out my eBay listing (100% feedback). $50 HP gift card for $40

"Everybody" can't, as it isn't "legally" out for the Pixi.

Although this is tempting (doctoring to 2.x), the app restriction to 1.4.5 apps only AND some of the issues reported (ie: new Google Calendar restrictions, etc..) with 2.x are enough to keep me as-is on 1.4.5 for now.

Not to mention -- I'm guessing the task of making a Unbuntu VM as well as learning the ropes of MetaDoctoring will take a 1/2 day at least -- time I wish I had, but, don't.

Thanks to the P|C guys for sending along some 1.4.5 relief while we all wait for the Pre3!

It really only takes about 30 min to make (and then there's the download time on the Ubuntu ISO)
its very straight forward, and is very easy. You an just copy-paste the commands and be totally fine (as long as you *understand the risks this has*)
PM me anytime for help :)
I've made 3 2.1 meta-doctors, and countless other meta-docs :)

yes!! I can finally download wifi media sync for free on my pre running 1.4.5

I would update to 2.1 but for some reason I get a "sign in failed" message when I try to log into my palm profile.

Have you done a "Backup Erase" before going to 2.1 yet?

Honestly this is a waste of time. I like my Pre Minus but honestly why would you even do this if you cant use the newer apps. I mean work on apps rather than trying to access a catalogue you cant use? Either the Pre 3 comes to Sprint or I am just done and jumping back to my Intercept.

Attempted a 2.1 install and failed to connect to Its not HPs fault but people keep blaming them. Its the phone companies that wont allow the OTA update not HP.

On the people about WebOS 3.0...I have a feeling it is just a gimmick to try and get hype of a tablet that will expictly fail and we will hack to get back to 2.0 or even because it wont have ANY support like we already have now. Stop getting your hopes up and making stuff for that and work with what we have now.

Hate to break this to you, but if the tablet does fail and HP dumps it, so goes the phones.

It's in your interest to support the Touchpad whether you like it or not.

The phones should have no relation to the touchpad. If apple lost the iPad they wouldnt lose the iPhone. The Pre/Pixi came before any tablet idea. I would see it in everyone interset to work on the apps rather than OS's so we can compete with Android and Appple, rather than worry about a fairy tale of an "expected tablet" that wouldnt you know it...have no useful apps. Smartphones/tablets use apps...not speculated OS's or tweaks to them that done make any difference.

I think I've found a way to survive the reboot. please see here for testing

method verified

Yeah it worked! Promo codes on my VZW Pre 2!!! :-)

The only bad thing about this is we should be able to get 2.* on our "legacy" devices. Oh well, at least HP is going to "make it right."

Thanks Patrick and Adam!
You've made many many people that have won apps very happy and i'm sure you've made the developers who knew, "many people still run 1.4.5" angry for their Free app give-away :)

Why does everyone blame HP for the lack of OS Upgrades. It is the Carrier that is blocking the upgrades on all devices but the pixi. And the pixi is just to slow to handle 2.1.

The carriers just paranoid about the devices on their network.

P.S. Apple has the power to force carriers to let their devices be updated as needed, you would think tha HP would have that kind of pull.


oh my goodnesss

this works!!!

thank you SO MUCH!!! :D my pre 2 feels good now

You're welcome.

You're welcome.
And, yes, I can access the account settings...

This is GREAT!

I was able to by the WebOS AppMill package of promo codes and use most of them on my Day One: Sprint Palm Pre.

Only two codes were WebOS 2.0 specific Apps.
Music Player (Remix) - also available in Preware.
Voices - not too important for me.

The rest of the codes all worked and I now own copies of some great software that I can start explorer the use of.


Can anyone verify that a Mac chokes during this procedure?

I attempt to open the nova-cust-image-broadway.rootfs.tar.gz file, which results in a nova-cust-image-broadway.rootfs.tar file that Archive Utility immediately works on.

An error pops up saying, 'Unable to unarchive "nova-cust-image-broadway.rootfs.tar" into "webOS". (Error 1 - Operation not permitted.)