webOS’ fate has been sealed. If you were still wondering (in which case you’re unbelievably fanboyish), webOS is dead. Or, at least, the webOS that you and I know is. Officially.
So how did HP choose to end this little mobile OS that (once) could? Simple. HP Symbianed webOS. Yes, webOS will be contributed to the open source community. That worked so well for Nokia and Symbian, surely it can only have a great ending for webOS as well.
The funny thing is that HP says it plans to be active in further development of the OS. Yet it’s going to be so for no apparent financial gain, since it doesn’t plan on releasing any new webOS devices in the foreseeable future. At least not in 2012. Meg Whitman, HP’s CEO, admitted that we may see some webOS-running HP tablets in 2013. But that’s not certain either. Oh, and HP is clearly not getting back into the smartphone space.
So basically the company decided that a “webOS is dead” announcement would have resulted in loads of negative coverage in the media and blogosphere, so opted for the next best thing: killing it without actually saying so.
Now we can all rejoice at the thought of the advancement of webOS through open source. Just like with Symbian.
Some people are even claiming that this is a sure path for webOS to become ‘the third platform’, alongside iOS and Android. Really?! And Microsoft will just sit idly and let this happen, no? No.
Anyway, ENYO, the webOS application framework, will also be open sourced. It’s unclear if HP will also open source the UI elements in webOS (which are the main things people love about this particular mobile operating system) or not. But it probably doesn’t matter. The webOS UI may still be modern today, but its roots are getting older by the day. And by 2013 or later, which is when any presumptive new devices will appear (and certainly not sooner), it will be positively ancient. So unless the open source community, helped by the few HP engineers left to work on this, will come up with another brilliant thing… it’s game over for webOS. Which we’ll all remember as a great little project that never really got the backing (or the hardware) it deserved. Sad, but true.
Prove me wrong, HP. Prove me wrong, I dare you.
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