Android just got a new friend in the open-source playground. HP today announced that the beloved-but-floundering mobile operating system will released to the open-source community.

"HP plans to continue to be active in the development and suppport of webOS," the company said. Like the core Android OS, webOS will be made available under an open-source license.

Exactly what that means in regards to webOS as a competitor to Android? We'll just have to see. Certainly it's great news for anyone who likes to tinker -- and you know how Android folks like to tinker. Will it overtake Android as the current embedded OS of choice? We will see some sort of mutant Android-webOS hybrid emerge from these murkey depths? (And how cool would that be?) We'll just have to see.

There's loads more, including the official announcement, at the link below.

More at PreCentral.net


Reader comments

HP's webOS joins Android in the land of open-source operating systems


Ditto. I always liked that aspect of WebOS. My sis had a Palm Pre and really liked it, but the build quality on the device was very poor and the apps were very limited.

Yes, The best of both worlds. This lets both OSs share the open source parts of the other.

Maybe it will cause a re-structure of Android to be closer to being a truly opensource system like its linux roots.

It depends on the details of open source license that HP uses.

Just for anyone under a rock: They (Android & WebOS) are both based on Linux, which has always been FOSS (Free Open Source Software). The Linux kernel and many other FOSS tools that make up Android & WebOS are the vast majority of makes them operate.

What's really interesting about webOS compared to Android, is that while it doesn't use X11, webOS looks a lot more like regular desktop Linux under the hood than Android which does use a the Linux kernel, but replaces a lot of the user land stuff.

I'm very excited to see this. As a Linux guy who is pretty intimately familiar with "normal" Linux distros, this should be much more accessible to me than Android.

Now if they can get webOS on some decent hardware from a good manufacturer, I may go back to webOS. I'm a diehard fanboy of that OS and really hated to leave it.

I know what you mean. I got a Pre when it first came out and absolutely loved webOS(even if it was still a little undercooked at the time), but man was the Pre a crappy piece of hardware with the worst keyboard I've ever used.

Let's put some cautious optimism on this. Just because it is open source does not guarantee it the wildly popular success that Android has seen.

It's not going to be enough for there to be ports of webOS to work on a variety of hardware for there to be any significant shift in anything. Think if CM was the only way you could get Android onto phone/tablet hardware. Sure it would be cool for the tinkerers among us, but it will be nothing more than for the hobbyist if that is the extent of the support for webOS.

Even with that -- would carriers allow this on their networks? Not sure how this works with CM, so just throwing that out there for now...

This is going to take a manufacturer (HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony, etc.) to pick this up and SUPPORT it before it will be any kind of success.

This is cool, but I'm a little sad it couldn't have happened sooner. I still stand by the belief that Nokia hardware running webOS would've been EPIC... Sigh...

Assuming that more apps show up on WebOS I fully expect HTC to start moving away from Android. Sorry folks but I'm 100% certain that Google's throw a new version at the OEM's every 8 months is driving OEM's up a freaking wall.

Hmm, your old phone doesn't have a front facing camera? Well it's the latest and greatest new feature so you'd better upgrade your phone. You really think that OEMs are unhappy about something that might motivate consumers to buy a new phone?

I'd be surprised to see a manufacturer put much effort into an OS with 1% of the market right now. A couple of years ago, yes, the field was wide open, but now it's a two-horse race. I think you're more likely to see a slew of cheap Chinese tablets running webOS.

I'm interested in seeing how truly open HP makes all this. I really think webOS is the best mobile OS out there at a base level, but didn't get enough love from developers and it's own owners. If it really is open a nice community grows up, I'm going to have to do the opposite of a lot of TouchPad owners and put webOS on my Android devices. Now I'm going to regret letting go of my fire sale TouchPad. I'll have to try again in the coming sale it seems.

I must say, this is an interesting and unexpected move. Of all their options, i didn't think of this one. I think they may actually have a chance to make this work. I've always thought webOS was a very slick OS and considered buying a pre 2yrs ago when i ended going with the original droid. But I knew then that the android ecosystem would rival apple eventually but didn't have the same feeling about webOS.
If they can adapt webos to run android apps (and you know how resourceful the hacker community is) or if adobe can make it simple to port then over, we would indeed have a completely viable fourth option for mobile.
I say nice move Meg! she avoided the fork in the road and went strait.

If they could just make a webOS launcher I'd install that in a heartbeat. And a notifier.

Sigh, I really do miss webOS. I just don't miss not having all the stuff I have running on android....

My thoughts exactly, man. If they make it smooth as say, ADW, you'd basically get the brilliant UI of webOS w/ the dev support and ecosystem of Android. Someone needs to make this happen.

doesn't WebOS have a curated app store? how is that going to be managed? how are app developers to be paid? this is gonna be very interesting, though unless some big manufacturers get behind this, i imagine no big time app/game developers will make WebOS compatible apps in the future.

HP will keep the app catalog, just the OS is going open source. Apps like the catalog are closed. The possible bigger market (due to the OS being free) may increase odds of getting more apps.

I honestly don't miss webOs at all, not even the card interface. Perfect task switcher is good enough for me

No offense to anyone but I dont see why ppl like it so much. It doesnt have widgets and so it is just an icon grid. Just like iOs...which is boring. The card interface...well thats nice but not the best thing in the universe...I just dont see the appeal.

don't forget, buggy as hell. I used to love webOs but it's NOT a good os, not even close. I like that in Android I can "close" an app and come back to it hours later and leave off exactly where I was without some obtrusive card cluttering up and mucking up my desktop. Especially with such limited space such as a mobile device.

1) It was "root" out of the box
2) It was more Linuxy
3) The card interface was just fantastic

WebOS was brilliant in a LOT of ways. It's most major problem was that it was initially buggy and was chained to hardware that was out of date.

That is not to say that Android doesn't have some great stuff too. I would love to mix elements of the both together.

I think webOS should be put on Mattel toys, which the webOS line of phones basically was, especially the Pre.

Time to borrow some more (yes, more. We all know the new multitasking system is borrowed from webOSs cards) ideas from webOS and bring it to Android without repercussions. :)

What they are more then welcome to impliment, use the old konami code to root our devices like Palm always enabled Dev Mode. Want root priveliges? Simply input up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A

Maybe some off screen multitouch gestures. Lemme think what else.

Google should have bought WebOS. The patents are surely worth a lot. And then they could have incorporated the best of WebOS into Android.

WebOS influence is showing up in ICS.
The dedicated multitasking button, swiping open apps away, the notifications..