After months of webOS twisting in the wind, HP has reportedly finalized its plans for the elegant mobile operating system. HP will keep webOS but submit it to an open source community so that other handset makers and tinkerers can use it.
In a press release, HP said its goals for the open source move include:
- The goal of the project is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform
- HP will be an active participant and investor in the project
- Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation
- Software will be provided as a pure open source project
So, webOS lives on but it likely will never fulfill the potential many of us saw when it was first introduced by Palm a few years ago. There’s always the chance that a major company like Amazon or one of the Chinese handset makers take the open source webOS and really run with it but I wouldn’t hold my breath. There’s no definite word on what will happen to the HP employees working on webOS but I’d assume the axe is coming.
We’ve gone over the history of webOS in exquisite detail but the short version is that Palm introduced it to much fanfare and then didn’t have the resources to compete against Apple, Google, Microsoft and others. HP threw down more than a billion dollars to buy Palm and planned to “double down” on webOS. After introducing a few underwhelming devices, HP killed its webOS plans (some would say prematurely) and essentially wasted $3 billion.
So, webOS goes out with a whimper but there’s still the slight, slight possibility that it rises once again.