HP just can’t seem to make up its mind about the company’s mobile operating system, WebOS. It appeared to be on the chopping block just a few months ago, but the company has a new CEO with a new plan – go open source with WebOS.
The announcement, made by the official developer blog, does not include a release date for the operating system’s source code, instead simply stating that “Meg Whitman has reiterated HP’s commitment to WebOS as a cloud-connected, scalable platform, while opening up new possibilities for platform expansion and improvement. She has also committed HP to a course of continued improvement to webOS, which means we’re in it for the long haul. “
There is much speculation about whether HP truly wants to give WebOS a new life, or if the decision to go open source is merely a way to elegantly remove it from the consumer market. Whatever the case, this announcement at least offers some consolation to HP TouchPad owners, who may now see new development of the device’s native OS.
WebOS might also replace Android as the darling of the open source community if HP stays true to its promise to release not only the entire operating system but also its app framework. While Android is offered under the open source license, Google exercises control over its official direction. HP has promised to follow a more collaborative path that won’t be under HP’s full control.
Perhaps we’re not far away from clever developers replacing their Android installation with WebOS, if only to out-geek their friends.