Dec 13, 2011

HP Makes WebOS Open Platform

You may still be ecstatic that you got a great deal on that TouchPad with an extra discount from HP coupons, but HP may be at a low point. Headlines around the nation are delivering the news: HP is planning to open-source its WebOS mobile platform. The announcement was made Friday by HP CEO Meg Whitman. For the past year, Whitman had tried to sell the software, acquired by Palm Inc. for approximately $1.2 billion, but no one expressed interest in WebOS. Now, in making WebOS an open-source platform, HP has allowed any individual or company to use or alter the software.

This means that WebOS can be put to use in other arenas. For example, theoretically speaking, HTC could step in and produce a new phone using WebOS software. Similarly, HP, or another company, could bring this software into a lightweight, battery-friendly tool for pursuing the web or checking emails.

So what are critics saying about this change? Mike Isaac of states his opinion loud and clear: “[Whitman’s] message sounds rosy, but open-sourcing the platform is like putting a horse out to pasture. Instead of maintaining its proprietary hold on the private software code, the company is giving it away to the masses, a signal that HP will be ramping down platform development.” Ouch.

As for the fate of the HP WebOS teams (some 600 employees), Whitman claims that they will remain at HP. Needless to say, we’re a little skeptical. So was making WebOS an open platform a “great answer,” as Whitman put it, or the death of WebOS? You decide.

By Sean K.

Bio: Sean is a guest writer on technology, consumer electronics, and lifestyles. tags:

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