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HP Making WebOS Open Source Like Android

Palo Alto, Calif. –
Hewlett-Packard will turn its WebOS operating systems for smartphones into an
open-source OS along the lines of Google’s Android OS, the company announced.

“WebOS is the only platform
designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said president/CEO
Meg Whitman. “By
contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open-source
community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”

HP will make WebOS’s underlying
code available under an open-source license so that developers, partners, HP
engineers and other hardware manufacturers “can deliver ongoing enhancements
and new versions into the marketplace,” the company said.

HP will work with the open-source
community to help define the “charter,” or operating principles, of the open-source
project to accelerate open development of the platform, HP said. “HP will be an
active participant and investor in the project,” which will include “transparent
and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation,” the company added.

 “By combining the innovative WebOS platform
with the development power of the open-source community, there is the
opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next
generation of devices,” HP contended.

HP bought WebOS along with WebOS
inventor Palm last year for $1.2 billion, then discontinued sales of Palm’s WebOS-based
smartphones, which had garnered only a small share of the smartphone market.
After dropping WebOS smartphones, HP said it would incorporate WebOS in other
future products. Press reports, however, contend that HP wanted to sell off WebOS
but couldn’t find a buyer.

WebOS could get support from smartphones
makers that sell Android phones but might be upset that Android developer
Google is getting into the smartphone market itself with the planned purchase
of Motorola.