HP said it is to contribute its webOS platform to the open source community, following months of speculation as to the future of the platform.
It had previously been reported that the company was in talks with potential buyers for the platform, with names in the frame including Intel and Qualcomm. However, it has now said the technology will be made available open source, and that it intends to be “active in the development and support of webOS.”
HP gained the platform as part of its US$1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in August 2010, but has been unable to generate momentum in the smart device market against competition from products powered by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. The company recently recorded significant costs related to the wind-down of the Palm business.
In a statement, Meg Whitman, president and CEO of HP (pictured), said: “webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable. By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”
According to Bloomberg, Whitman also said that the company may release new hardware running webOS in 2013 – it said in August that it would not offer any more devices using the platform. What is not clear is what form these devices will take: Whitman said that the company is “out of the smartphone business,” and while a tablet would be an obvious choice, HP has also previously iterated plans to use the platform to power smart printers.
The company has not said how long it will take before webOS is available under an open source license, but that when it is it will be an “active participant and investor in the project.” It has also promised to support “good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation.”