HP’s webOS goes open source

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has announced that its webOS software and accompanying ENYO app framework will be “contributed” to the open source community – making an official resurrection of the TouchPad extremely unlikely.  

The company also said it planned to be active in future development and support of the mobile operating system, which could help significantly improve apps and web services for next-gen devices.

“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” HP CEO Meg Whitman said in an official statement.

“By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”

As such, HP is making the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license – allowing devs, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers to create enhancements and even new versions of the OS.

The webOS open source project is expected to operate under the following principles: 

  • Accelerate the open development of the webOS platform.
  • HP is 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.

webOS is the operating system that powers the TouchPad tablet, a device which failed to gain sufficient traction in the hyper-competitive mobile market currently dominated by Apple and Android.

Excess inventory languished on the shelves until HP kicked off a $99 fire sale in August, which ignited sales and saw the tablet sell out across the United States. 
Despite frenetic TouchPad sales at the $99 price point, it appears as if HP has effectively conceded the tablet market to Apple and Google, at least for now.