DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

October 1, 2012

2 Min Read
HP Showcases Open WebOS for Tablets, Smartphones

At Hewlett-Packard’s (NYSE: HPQ) Partner Conference last February, chief executive Meg Whitman didn’t directly defend the vendor’s addled WebOS, yet pointedly said she believed there was room for another, albeit open OS, on the mobile market. That Whitman, speaking amid the demise of HP’s TouchPad tablet and the rubble of its Palm acquisition, didn’t line up a list of HP devices and settings suitable for an Open WebOS, raised an eyebrow or two but not much else.

Fast forward seven months and we have the release Sept. 28 of Open WebOS 1.0, a month after HP rolled out a beta version, delivered on schedule, announced via blog post, and positioned as suitable for a wide variety of devices, including tablets, smartphones and PCs.

In addition to newly added core email and browser applications, Open WebOS release 1.0 houses modifications that HP hopes will make it more attractive to developers. In the past nine months, the Open WebOS team delivered more than 75 Open WebOS components, totaling in excess of 450,000 lines of code — the source code can be found in Open WebOS repositories on GitHub — meaning the platform can be ported to multiple devices, including PCs.

Steve Winston, HP’s chief WebOS architect, in a video posted to the Open WebOS Project blog, demonstrated the OS running on a TouchSmart all-in-one PC, mentioning that it took only two days’ effort to port it to the machine. The demo featured the WebOS user interface, a quick launch bar for single-touch application launches, the ability to run multiple applications at once, input and navigation via a touch interface (“it’s very simple, very intuitive,” Winston said) and a variety of applications already running on the platform.

The new edition also supports Enyo2, HP’s open source, cross-platform, object-oriented JavaScript application development framework that enables developers to write a single application that works across mobile devices and desktop web browsers.

Winston talked about the OS’s suitability, as a one-size-fits-all platform, in hotel kiosks or other customer service business settings, and in specialty situations such as field personnel using smartphones or tablets. “This is just our first step,” he said. “We will continue to develop for the platform, we will continue to add new features.”

But in truth, each of those possible uses is somewhat limited and not given to Open WebOS’s widespread pollination. Still, it provides some clues as to why Whitman didn’t dismiss the platform altogether earlier this year. With HP of late, the strategy and thinking is muddy to all but a few — the vendor is readying a business tablet running Windows 8 and Whitman has alluded to the possibility that HP will bring out a smartphone in the future, yet nowhere has she tied either device category to Open WebOS. You’d think it would deserve at least a mention.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like