Monday, December 12, 2011

HP releases WebOS to open source developers

The HP TouchPad.  Source: HP

HP has recently announced that they'll be contributing the WebOS software to the open source community.   “By contributing this innovation," CEO Meg Whitman says, "HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”

To which most fans of WebOS likely responded, "Finally."

Palm's WebOS was much beloved by many of its users, but due to lackluster hardware in phones like the Pre and Pre Plus compared to Android and iOS phones, the software never really gained traction.  When HP bought Palm earlier last year for a cool $1.2 billion, WebOS fans hoped this would mean an infusion of cash and resources that would save the operating system.  HP sold the HP Veer on AT&T for a while and came out with a tablet, the TouchPad, but that lasted less than two unsuccessful months before being sold off in a firesale.  The future of WebOS looked dim at this point.

However, if you check out the Palm HP WebOS developers blog, this announcement has gotten people excited.  HP has committed to staying involved with the development of WebOS too.  While other companies will be able to use the software on their own hardware for free now, this could mean HP is hoping to release some new WebOS products themselves, whether it's connected printers or another smartphone.

This is much better for the fate of WebOS than HP hoarding the technology, but with Android and iOS dominating the market, and Microsoft investing heavily in Windows 8 and Windows Phone, is there still room for WebOS?  Guess we'll have to see what the open source community can do with it now that this is all out there.

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