2011-12-10

HP will open-source webOS and produce new hardware for it

Joshua Topolsky has interviewed HP’s Meg Whitman and Marc Andreessen for The Verge. Highlights:
  • webOS will be completely open source: HP will spin off its webOS team into an open source organization and give it time to succeed.
  • There will be new webOS hardware from HP. Most likely tablets, probably not phones. It is not sure whether the hardware will come out in 2012 or later.
I am positively surprised by the clarity and insightfulness of what Meg Whitman says. HP really seems to have a long-term vision this time. It’s good that there’s hope for webOS. Now there is a nice opportunity for someone to create a cheap tablet that runs it. webOS has always been intriguing technology that never got a real chance. Especially its framework Enyo has a lot of potential, because it runs on any WebKit browser and allows an application’s user interface to scale from phones to tablets [1]. That allows such apps to be ported to other platforms such as desktops and mobile devices. Quoting a tweet from @balmer:
Great news that webOS is still alive. Enyo and PhoneGap will be an amazing combo for iPad apps.
Furthermore, the mobile world will gain an Android competitor. It’s not yet sure that it will appeal to a major manufacturer, but it could, given that Google has recently increased its control of Android. Quoting the heading of an Ars Technica article: “HP's decision means webOS could end up more open than Android”.

Related reading:

  1. Enyo: a web application toolkit from Palm
  2. A preview of webOS 3 and where it’s better than the iPad
  3. Try out a webOS app online

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