This is a very interesting part of a review from Arts Technica of the Pre:
One of the most underhyped yet important features of the Pre is its support for over-the-air backup/restore using Palm’s Profiles service. Like so many other Pre reviewers, my first review unit broke (the middle column of the keyboard stopped working). When Palm sent me a new unit, I used a built-in app to completely wipe the old one, and I did most of the setup on the new one by simply entering my Palm Profiles credentials. (Note that Palm doesn’t offer OTA wipes yet, but this would be a trivial tweak of what it already has.) Once the new Pre authenticated me with Palm, it downloaded my apps, account information, and preferences, and after a reboot I was IMing and emailing again without having to reenter any of my data.
Note that if you log into Palm Profiles online, there isn’t much there. Palm has left this section pretty bare-bones, and I suspect that this is for a reason. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that Palm can easily release an enterprise profile management server that would let corporate IT departments create and manage profiles for a mobile workforce. It might even just tie everything to your Exchange credentials, instead of having you make an extra set of mobile device credentials.
It’s likely that a future webOS enterprise scenario will look something like this:
When you’re hired, you’re issued a new or wiped Palm device along with log-in credentials for a corporate profile. On booting the device for the first time, you enter your credentials, and the device connects to the profile server and pulls down all of the apps and preferences that you’ve been assigned by IT. Your e-mail, IM, custom internal apps (CRM and the like), are all set up and ready to go as a result of that one initial log-in. And if you need access to more apps, you go to a private version of the App Catalog that has been customized for your company.
If you lose the device, IT can remote-wipe it and issue you a new one. Your profile, which has been backed up over-the-air, is still intact, and after logging into the profile server with your new device all your data is there.
I think the folks a BlackBerry are very worried… and if they are not, they will be out of new business very soon :-)