Saturday, December 10, 2011

HP: webOS to live on through open source, hardware lineup still dead (for now)

When HP abruptly announced it was discontinuing the TouchPad and ceasing work on any future devices running webOS, we took that to mean the underdog operating system had died a premature death. But when the company ousted bumbling CEO Leo Apotheker and replaced him with Meg Whitman, we had to wonder if webOS might have some life in it yet. Well, HP just came back with a final verdict: the company will continue to develop webOS, as promised, but with the help of the open source community. In other words, webOS as a platform will live on, and developers both inside HP and out will spruce up the OS for interested OEMs (whoever they may be), along with people who already own webOS devices. Says Sam Greenblatt, CTO of the outfit's advanced technologies division: "We looked at all the various options we have on the table. We think this option is the best for the tech industry and HP."

Nonetheless, if you were hoping Whitman would resurrect the TouchPad and Pre 3 beyond just another fire sale, we hate to be the bearer of disappointing news. The bottom line: HP's webOS hardware lineup is still dead -- for now, at least. Greenblatt emphasized that HP might later choose to build devices running webOS, the same way any other OEM would evaluate any other operating system. In an interview, company representatives were also quick to say that with the help of developers outside HP, webOS could become a more attractive choice for devices other than phones and tablets (printers, anyone?). Still, though Greenblatt says there has been a "great deal" of interest from companies eyeing the software, it remains unclear which manufactures, if any, will decide to give the OS a more immediate home.

Update: TechCrunch got a copy of Meg Whitman's memo to the troops, find after the break.

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HP: webOS to live on through open source, hardware lineup still dead (for now) originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 09 Dec 2011 13:35:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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