Sprint Pre 2 FrankenPre conversion gets pictorial step-by-step, with webOS 2.0 | webOS Nation

Sprint Pre 2 FrankenPre conversion gets pictorial step-by-step, with webOS 2.0 59

by Dieter Bohn Thu, 03 Mar 2011 12:53 pm EST

If you made a venn diagram of Sprint users and webOS lovers, a significant portion of PreCentral members would fall in the intersection of the two. So the lack of a newer Palm Pre - either the Plus or the Pre 2 - has been pretty vexing. Enter Rich Dunbar, who has posted a full 15-step photo guide of how to take apart both a Sprint Pre, grabbing its communication board, and inserting it into a Pre Plus or Pre 2. Then you can run a script to get your device fully operational with webOS 2.0.1.

It's not an official device from HP, but it is a faster and software-upgraded Pre on your network of choice. Anybody taking the plunge?


Is it just me or does the image in step 15 look like the image in step 2?

Thanks for doing this! I was about to tackle the swap pictorial-less and was concerned about breaking something!

It's the same image. I just didn't take one of my Pre 2 to put there. The assembly is the same and the instructions make clear that the pre minus back bezel and comm board are placed on the Pre 2. Sorry for any confustion.

Thinking about it. Thanks, Sprint, for not showing any webOS love since the original Pixi was released in late 2009. Yes, Ruby threw you under the bus in early 2010 when he said that it might have worked out better if the original Pre had launched on Verizon instead of Sprint, but this spat isn't helping your customers one bit... You have a bunch of webOS fans on your network (who don't want to leave your network) with no clear upgrade path in sight.

I agree. Sprint/HP! Are you listening! Is this what we're reduced to?

Do we have to turn into Dr. FranenPre just to get a new WebOs phone?

HP/Sprint! True love and loyalty can be bought and/or reinforced. How about every Sprint customer with an original Pre or Pixi older than 18 months gets a free Pre3 when we purchase the TouchPad at the standard Sprint discount???

This puts both the TouchPad and the Pre3 in the hands of your most loyal and stubborn customers and turns us into zealots singing your praises and assimilating the unannointed!

That would be great if Sprint and HP did what you asked!
Here is my opinion why I think Sprint didn't take the Pre 2. Sprint was sold on webOS so they took a chance with the Pre and thought that Palm would deliver a solid phone. They were wrong. The og Pre was one of the most, if not the most, returned phones Sprint has ever had because of build quality. Fast forward to the Pre 2. Same build as the original, Sprint wouldn't touch it with a 10' poll. WebOS faithful get angry at Sprint. Hopefully Sprint listened to the rants and will get the Pre 3 because it is made by HP and not Palm. Hopefully. Time will tell.

Wait, I thought the idea was to end up with a Pre 2 with a sprint board...the last picture (obviously the same as the second picture) implies that I'm taking all the good stuff out of the pre 2 and putting it in the pre-... Why do I want this? My sprint pre- is falling apart...

I thought the same thing, to put the Sprint com board into the Pre2 shell. Guess I'll have to tear something apart to find out.

I'm 90% sure it's just an incorrect photo. He might not have had Pre2 available to show reassembly so used the Pre- case for images.

If you read the comments at webOSroundup (where the story was originally written and where the author responded to a comment identical to yours), Rich Dunbar said he showed the picture because the steps are THE SAME between all of the phones. That's why he didn't write a tutorial for taking apart a Pre, then one for the Pre+, then one for the Pre2.

The steps are the same, so as long as you follow the steps, you'll end up with a Sprint Pre2. I know that for a fact because I've done this (not with the pictorial, from personally watching him Sprintify 3 Pre2s).

Okay, it isn't an incorrect photo, it's just the re-assembled Pre-. I wasn't about to take apart my Pre 2 again just to make the guide. And since I was using my Pre 2 to take the pictures, I couldn't very well take a picture of it. So perhaps I will update the photo... I didn't figure people would get confused since the instructions say to put the Pre minus back bezel and comm board on the Pre 2.

where is the link?

press "Source" will direct u to the link.

I was one of the last alpha testers before this writeup was made. Swapped my almost 2 year old Sprint Pre with an unlocked dev Pre2 HP sent me last week. Loving my Sprint Pre2 :) Can't wait till they release WebOS 2.1 for it.

OK - So if I wanted to do all this, and I doubt I could, where would I get the Pre 2 to canibalize?

Direct from HP?

Lots of effort went onto this but they should have gotten someone other than Mr. Blurrycam to take the pictures.

I'd just love to know who actually just has an extra $400 laying around to purchase an off contract pre 2 and attempt something like this knowing that there's a chance they could end up with NO working phone in the end.

Ummm I bought my Pre 2 on 11/18 the morning it was available on HP's site and paid $449 plus overnight shipping of $40 and tax. On 12/19 I converted it into a Sprint Pre 2 and have been using it ever since. I don't regret it and by being an early adopter I have learned quite bit so I could come and help everyone else with this guide.

Would this work with am original Bell Pre and a Rogers Pre 2? I have an extra Bell Pre lying around.

I think so -- it's very much the same concept (GSM Pre2 being 'Franken'ed into being a CDMA device [Bell] )

I don't know what 1.4.5 was like for anyone. I just got my HP issued Pre2 for VZ activated today. It's my first extended use with webOS and coming over from an iPhone I can tell you the things I'm missing are some apps, screen resolution (retina is amazing) and screen real estate. Other than that the user experience is really impressive.

Good luck getting on 2.0, you should enjoy it. And if not, there are products on the way.

this will be done pronto if a release date gets set for AT&T or Verizon to get the Pre 3 without a Sprint date. Then I'm game, but until then.... Pre- for me

if I get the Pre2 to do this, will Sprint then charge me the extra 10 for activating a new smartphone? What will happen? I imagine I will have to call to activate the new phone, and even though I didn't buy it from Sprint they will make me pay the extra monthly fee?

Comm board being swapped means same phone to carrier.


The whole back bezel INCLUDING MY BLOWN SPEAKER gets swapped....that's not good for me. Can just the comm board be swapped?

And once its done how do you upgrade to 2.1?

I don't think so as the antenna equip is diff between CDMA and GSM.

Click on the source and follow the directions to get 2.1 on the phone. Phone won't be usable with just the com swap. The whole process has to be followed closely.

If you want to just swap the comm board, you can buy a Verizon Pre2. If you use a Verizon Pre2 for the swap, you can leave the back bezel intact, swapping only the comm board.

You can swap the speaker and camera lense if you wish. I haven't done it but others have.

Got a call yesterday from HP that my DEV Pre 2 will be shipped out within a week. You bet I will be doing this to my Pre-, cant wait!!!

Rich Dunbar is the man, webOS Internals is amazing, I am just loving this. I know what I'll try this weekend!

Nice job on this, great stuff, if only every single picture wasn't completely out of focus. Maybe we need to pool together to help him get better photos.

very creative. Not worth the effort for me personally though. i'd just get a new phone and switch carriers.

I knew I should've gotten a pre when I signed this pixi for Sprint.
oh well, I'm tired of this webOS game anyways.
I hear the HTC arrive is coming March 20th, which just so happens to be my birthday. maybe it's meant to be.

I'd pay five-hundy total to get a Pre 2 on my Sprint plan.

I just don't love WebOS enough to do this. Gonna ride my release day Sprint Pre as long as I can and decide when I can't handle waiting anymore. IF no Sprint device availabale at that point then I'll probably head over to WinPhone7 or Android. Once Nokia starts developing hardware for Microsoft I am expecting exceptional build quality on WinPhone7, which may entice me.

But the write up looks straightforward.


2. All of you who have had the opportunity to use the Pre, PP or Pre 2 have a leg up on me, (as now that my contract with my Centro at long last ended, as I await the Pre 3). Are completely amazing, all of the time and effort in doing projects such as this one and then sharing it with the rest of us.

I am guessing that Rich is a member of Home brew community. As the Home brew community also deserves a thanks for just the same reason.

3. We all owe palm/HP a thanks as well....while they may not have come up with the solution for all of you using the original Pre, they designed software that allows for such customization.

take care all,


I am Rich Dunbar and I am Pastorrich1, Forum Leader here on PreCentral.net. I don't know why Dieter didn't mention that in his brief writeup but anyway.... I do have a couple of apps in the app catalog, four or five patches either created or updated for someone else in Preware and have been working the Sprint Pre 2 conversion since mid December.

So, Thank you for noticing all of the effort that has made this possible.

I love webOS, and have been with sprint for 13 years.

That said, I am REALLY losing my patience. My refurb pre has more issues than charlie sheen, and there is ZERO webos phone I can get to replace it on Sprint. No more refurb pre's, no pre plus, no pre 2, and no word on pre 3.

I was all excited for the HP event on Feb 9th, but what a letdown!! I get an email YESTERDAY about the Ipad2, which arrives in less than 10 days...and has better specs than the HP tablet that is still MONTHS away!!!

Way to hype stuff that won't be available for MONTHS...and by the time they are available, apple/google and others will have already beat you to the punch. Everything mentioned at the Feb event should have been available within 30 days in my opinion. Or wait until May to have your pow-wow when you MIGHT actually have products around the corner.

I'm just ticked because my pre is on life support, and there is NO sign of a replacement in the future. Disappointed in sprint for not supporting WebOS better.

Is anybody at HP or sprint listening?

since yo are on sprint, and if you got the insurance, YES there are Replacements! They Have Plenty of them from asurion insurance. You are eirher over exagerating or just have not tried, or just compaining to make a scene.
So saying no more pre's is not true at all. they have them and they ship nationally and canada. I am on sprint, dont care anymore with my pre 2 being shipped from HP, Developers Pre 2 .

My local sprint store said no more pre's. I have to check...I think I have a basic insurance, but not sure if that is 'equipment replacement'.

I will look at that.

How do you get a developers Pre 2? I assume you are getting that to do the swap this post talks about?

Even when I got my last refurb pre, the store told me they were getting very low on stock, and would not be able to swap out pre's after much longer as it was going to be EOL'd.

Not complaining to make a scene...just frustrated that hp has this big announcement that was about 4-5 months too soon in my opinion. No new products...and not much support for old ones.

@swimb - Nobody at HP is listening. They have totally f*ked up WebOS (not that Palm is guilt-free) and this product line is clearly doomed.

Sure, they'll keep it going for a few years, but in the end WebOS will be nothing more than another piece of bloatware factory installed on HP computers and perhaps living inside their higher end printers.

It's time to stop thinking about what WebOS could be in an idealized fantasy. HP wants something completely different and they don't give a sh*t about the people here.

With that note, I have happily jumped ship to Android... where I don't have to take apart my old phone and put parts of it into my new phone if I want to upgrade. HP/WebOS fanboys, enjoy one less "hater" in the forum!

How do you like android?

That is probably where I would be heading, since sprint doesn't have the iphone...and will probably not get it.

Honestly, I like the size of the pre. My pre with the seidio extended battery is great. I don't want a massive screen in my pocket. I have a macbook air 11.6, a MBP, and a 58" plasma if I want to watch a movie.

We'll see how long my pre lasts. If sprint had a pre3 by the end of march, that would be ideal. I know, I know... PIPE DREAMS.

Er, I think your problem is with Sprint. I have a new Pre 2 from Verizon and I wouldn't trade it for anything else out there.

That is good to know...maybe I will try the hack.

My issue is with both. I wouldn't be surprised if sprint 'held off' for a pre 3 that was 'coming soon', not knowing that would be half a year away.

Oh well. Just hoping my pre can hang on.

I'm running this setup myself.

Just last week I switched out the comm board from my Sprint Pre- to a Verizon Pre+ following the excellent instructions at WebOS-Internals.

Last night I upgraded to WebOS 2.1, again following the excellent guide at WebOS-Internals, and Flash guide from Jason.

Lastly I installed the experimental UberKernel and so far everything is working. If anyone is on the fence about making the conversion, go for it. The directions and scripts are top notch and work well.

It's probably also worth noting that I performed the hardware GPS hack using QPST some months ago, which I believe transfered with the comm board (all the values in QPST are still as I set them when I checked yesterday.) This hack is also working in the FrankenPre+ 2.1.

Forgot to mention a couple things.

Firstly, Internalz doesn't work yet due to some legal issues with the PDK.

Secondly Music Player (Remix) is problematic. The homebrew version will not run on 2.1 and the app catalog 2.0 version will not install on the device as it's masqed as WebOS 1.4.5 to allow access to the catalog.

Not sure how to fix it just yet, but I'm working on it.

I want a video of the whole process on YouTube.

Make one, I am sure others want one too.

Thanks for all the hard work guys! I just finished the hardware conversion and I'm waiting on my meta doctor to build right now. Two days ago I did the 2.1 build on my Sprint Pre - and it was working quite well after putting on the uberkernel and setting it up to 1ghz. I'll update with the results after doctoring

Really, a lot of time and effort is being put into making this old thing work. I just wonder what would have happened if it would have been spent on making webos work on other hardware.

Can Internals frankenpre my pre- to the pre2 for me? I'd gladly be willing to pay for the service and pay shipping. I just don't want to risk **** up since I'm not good with taking things apart and putting it back together.

Just waiting on a proper release of Uberkernal and I'll be upgrading my FrankenPre to 2.1.0 with Flash!

Just finished my swap. Worked like a charm! =D

Everything worked great! Had some hiccups with my google calendar, but I guess that sounds common on 2.0.1. I do miss voice dialing from 2.1 already. Any word on getting voice dialing on our 2.0.1 Sprint Pre2?

obviously if its much more difficult then preware we can nearly doubt it exist.

I am willing to pay to have this done to my phone. Assuming its running 720 mhz bios with a 500 mhz min and 250 mhz sleep/idle and everything is operational.

I still want everything on the original Pre. The hard button kind of makes the phone. The Iphone is going on 5 generations and obviously theres a good reason why there is a hard button on a touch screen phone.

"Because the iPhone has one" is not a good reason to keep a hard button on the face of the phone.

That's just the kind of reasoning that perpetrates the myth that the iPhone is the end-all, be-all phone.

The LED bar combined with the gesture area serves an identical purpose, and it works very well.

I have been running my Franken-Pre for a week now.

Mine was done by Chris of WebOS-Internals (cryptk) at the WebOS-Internals booth at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) while two senior HP/Palm staff watched.

With the release today of Jason's new node.js services all my goodies including flashlight and internalz work.

Color me happy.

Re the haters who are convinced that HP has "ruined" webOS, -- you're wrong. You just don't know how wrong you are. After talking with folks at SCALE, I'm convinced that webOS has a future that makes the Iphone/Ipad a tinker toy.

It's all about connectivity, about the ability to have multiple devices on a single profile, to have single apps that scale and move from phone to pad to laptop to desktop to set-top-box.

It'sa gonna happen.

first off who advertises clothes here hoping to get hits. Secondly this is awesome i hope we can do this with the pre 3, but regardless its amazing how easy it is on this phone. Ive never heard of being able to switch cell formats out before, and im sure it takes great engineering to something like this happen. Tts a completely different end of the spectrum what webos offers to customers as opposed to the apple. I feel like weboos is robin hood and apple is sheriff of nottingham. AND WTF webOS 2.0 with all the benefits of 1.4.5 and more?! Thats a wet dream come true.