Earlier today, HP announced that it would be open-sourcing much of the webOS operating system. This effectively kills it off as a commercial platform, at least for now. But what about the future of webOS hardware? Will HP drink its own open-source juice and make more devices? Updates below.
The official HP FAQ says no, it will not make more webOS devices, at least until it ‘gains traction’ in the open source community:
As webOS gains traction as an open source alternative in the marketplace, you could see webOS on several different types of devices by any number of vendors.
We will explore the viability of putting webOS on devices, just as we do for other leading operating systems.
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Current webOS device owners, like those who purchased a Touchpad during the recent fire sale, will continue to get ‘software improvements and updates’ in the future. HP says that making webOS open source will speed its development, making it more beneficial to current and future users.
The company also said that it would “remain active” in the development of webOS, but didn’t exactly say how. At this point it is still relatively unclear whether webOS will be open sourcing the shiny user-experience bits that really make it shine among its competitors.
Update: The Verge got an interview with HP CEO Meg Whitman and board member Marc Andreesen. They had some things to say about not making webOS phones, but possibly making hardware like tablets. According to Techcrunch, Whitman specifically stated 2013 as a target date for tablets.
Will HP be creating any new webOS hardware?
The answer to that is yes but what I can’t tell you is whether that will be in 2012 or not. But we will use webOS in new hardware, but it’s just going to take us a little longer to reorganize the team in a quite different direction than we’ve been taking it in the past.
Are we talking printers? Or tablets and phones?
In the near term what I would imagine – and this could change, in full disclosure – is I would think tablets, I do not believe we will be in the smartphone business again.
But tablets are a real possibility?