Sunday, July 31, 2011

Free Unlocker for Palm/HP Phones

A few weeks back, I ditched my iPhone for good and got my hands on a used Palm Pre. Unfortunately, it was net-locked by the provider. Fortunately, the modem is Qualcomm device and hence, all security features can be bypassed so easily that they appear meaningless in the first place. I've written unlocking scripts that work on every webOS phone, i.e. Palm Pre (Plus), Palm Pre2, Palm Pixi (Plus), HP Veer, or HP Pre3. You do not need a SIM card for obtaining the unlock code, and the unlock is perfectly safe, i.e. you can't brick your device. Here's a quick how-to:
  1. Install python 2.6.x (32 bit/x86 version): Python 3.x will not work.
  2. Windows: Install pywin32 for python 2.6:
  3. Install pyserial:
    Linux: Use your packet manager to install the required libraries, e.g. sudo apt-get install python-serial for Debian based distributions (Ubuntu, Mint, etc.) 
  4. Download the unlocker (Pre/Pre2/Pixi, or Pre3/Veer) and unpack it (e.g. into the directory C:\unlock)
  5. Calculate the USB passthrough key: go to device info, write down the "Serial Number", and use to generate the key from this number. The serial number is also printed on the back of your device and/or underneath the battery.
  6. Start the phone without a SIM card, then start the dialer. If the phone has not been activated before, you can either select "emergency call" with the icon from the notification area at the bottom (Pre, Pre2, Pixi) and delete the number (911, 112 etc.), or just type "BZ" (#*) blindly on the keyboard (Veer, Pre3). Enter "#*USBPASS# (#*8727277#) in the dialer application and press the dial icon.  A window will appear which asks you to enter the passthrough key. After you've done that, select "Diag" for the "USB PORT 1" (only for that port, the rest has to be set to "None").
    If you have trouble enabling the passthrough mode, bypass the activation, install Preware and install the "Enable USB Passthrough" application from Preware.
  7. Windows: Connect your phone to your machine and install these drivers for the serial diagnostics port (not the R-ACM or any other device). The first time you plug in the phone in diagnostics mode, Windows will ask you for drivers. You can also force the driver installation in the device manager by right-clicking the unknown serial port under "Other devices" and selecting "Update drivers". You might have to acknowledge a few warnings about broken driver signatures.
    Linux: Insert the module usbserial module with vendor and product parameters matching the vendor and product ID (lsusb), e.g. sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=0x0830 product=0x8043. You have to make the device file (usually /dev/ttyUSB0) accessible to regular users, or you have to run the unlock script with root privileges.
  8. Run / and write down your network unlock code.
    If the serial port is not found automatically or if the search is stuck, you can specify it as a command line parameter. Open up a command prompt, navigate to the directory (cd \unlock) and run the unlocker, e.g. --diagPort COM5
    If the firmware version has not been recognized, update your device to either the latest webOS 1.4.x or 2.x version. If you don't have a Palm account, you can obtain the updater here.
  9. Disable the passthrough mode: enter "#*USBPASS# (#*8727277#) and press the dial icon again. Set "None" for "USB PORT 1".
  10. Shutdown the phone. Put in a SIM card that is not accepted by the phone and boot it up again. You might have to bypass the activation mechanism.
  11. Carefully enter the network unlock code obtained in step 8. If it gets rejected, please contact me with the perso.txt file that has been saved to the directory of the script. Reboot and enjoy your unlocked phone.
    If and only if the unlock code does not work for you ("Enter Unblock Code"), try running the script with the parameter --writeBack from the command prompt, e.g. --writeBack. After it has completed successfully, reboot your phone and it should be unlocked.
    If you need to activate your phone, but your carrier does not support data services, you can try this.
The script should also work for Linux, MacOS, BSD and any other system which has drivers for the USB diagnostics mode and a python interpreter. I'd like to know whether this worked for you, so please leave a comment. Also, all sources of the unlocker have been released under the terms of the GPL. Feel free to hack away with them.