Palm’s location-based advertising patent likely sheds light on background location reporting in webOS

By on September 1, 2009 at 10:58 AM.

Palm’s location-based advertising patent likely sheds light on background location reporting in webOS

Remember last month when a developer revealed some hidden functionality in webOS that periodically reports a user’s location back to Palm? Well as it turns out, the reasoning behind the Big Brother-esque move may be even worse than you think. Drum roll please… Location-based advertising. We’ve uncovered a patent application filed by Palm in November of last year that could end up being one of the worst things to happen to webOS since its birth. As described within the application itself, the patent “provides a method and system thereof that can be used to more effectively target advertisements and other services to users of wireless communication devices.” More from the patent description:

Based upon the location data from the appointment and the location of device 310 (or other alternative location provided by the user), processor 340 may then provide advertisement data (step 386), for example, along the driving route between the location of the appointment and the current location of device 310 within a predetermined distance of the location of the appointment and/or the current location of device 310, and so on.

In other words, the system will keep tabs on your location in order to serve ads that will theoretically get you to spend money on the spot. Why not stop off for a coffee in this Starbucks? How about a tasty Angus Third Pounder from the McDonald’s down the block? But wait, it gets worse. Palm’s concept goes even further to pull appointment information out of your calendar in order to serve contextual ads based on your destination location in addition to your current location. While this concept is pretty brilliant, it’s also remarkably invasive and frankly, a bit frightening. Is the future of mobile advertising a gross invasion of our privacy?

Thanks, Darnell!

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Two new Palm handsets allegedly hit Sprint’s inventory system; webOS fans allegedly cry tears of joy

By on August 31, 2009 at 9:50 AM.

Two new Palm handsets allegedly hit Sprint’s inventory system; webOS fans allegedly cry tears of joy

It appears as though webOS junkies may soon have a new way to get their fix — two new ways, even. According to a screenshot allegedly depicting Sprint’s inventory system, not one but two new Palm handsets have materialized; the 120 and C40. Let’s look at what we’ve got: Sprint’s Pre is coded as 100, or P100 in internal systems. At Verizon, it’s pretty safe to assume the Pre has been dubbed P101 as we’ve seen several references to it. Both the screenshot above and the shots in this post also depict a device coded 12x — the 120 is listed above and the P121 is reportedly in Verizon’s inventory system right now. We’ve seen the 120 referenced earlier as well, and it was always thought to be the Eos. As both carriers are rumored to be getting Palm’s Centro replacement in the near future, the Eos being designated as 12x might still be a safe bet. As for what the C40 could be however, we’re stumped. If the C40 is actually the Eos and the 120 is a refreshed Pre of some sort, why does Verizon have both the P101 and P121 in its inventory right now? Does Big Red plan to launch 8GB and 16GB Pre models simultaneously, a la older iPhone models? Hit the comments and let us know what you think.

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