HP today announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community. By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices, said Hewlett-Packard today.
webOS is said to offer a number of benefits. For developers, applications can be easily built using standard web technologies. For device manufacturers, it provides a single web-centric platform to run across multiple devices.
The news is particularly good for consumers, says Venture Beat, since it means webOS popping up on non-HP devices in the future. And if you picked up one of those cheap TouchPad tablets, there’s the potential that you’ll actually be able to receive updates in the future
“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”
HP will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Developers, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers can deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace.
Among the key ripple effects, says ZDNet’s Larry Dignan, is the impact on Android, the king of mobile as well as open source operating systems.
- HTC, Samsung and others are likely to watch WebOS popularity closely because it could be a hedge against Android’s power.
- WebOS could take off and be another headache for Microsoft, crushing their hopes for a 3rd spot.
- Research in Motion also has its big OS bet with the BlackBerry 10 OS—formerly BBX. WebOS could steal RIM’s thunder, or WebOS could be an option for RIM
webOS was introduced by Palm in January 2009 as the successor to Palm OS. The first webOS device was the original Palm Pre, released on Sprint in June 2009.
AT&T is (was) the only U.S. carrier to offer smart phones with all major operating systems, notes the Dallas News. They include:
- webOS – Palm Pixi Plus and Pre Plus
- Android – Motorola Backflip and Dell Aero
- iPhone OS – iPhone 3G and 3GS
- Windows Mobile – LG eXpo, HTC Pure and others
- BlackBerry – BlackBerry Curve 8900 and others
- Symbian – Nokia Surge
Why not just evolve MeeGo? The future belongs to HTML5-based applications, says the Meego community blog. The Tizen application programming interfaces are based on HTML5. APIs for messaging, multimedia, camera, network, and social media are expected soon. Samsung’s proprietary Bada platform, looks similar to Samsung’s customization of Google Android, and is available on their Wave 3, M and Y phones.