HP shocked the smartphone world in August when it abruptly announced plans to abandon the production of phones running its webOS platform. Since then, we’ve been wondering what the company would do with its webOS holdings; licensing the platform to other manufacturers was floated, but we never saw that direction go anywhere. At the end of November, the company met to discuss its plans for the future of webOS, and announced it would reveal its decision in the following two weeks. Today, HP has made good on that promise and revealed the fate of the operating system, which HP will release as an open source project.
Don’t think that going open source means that HP is wiping its hands of webOS, and leaving any future development to the community; instead, HP says it will be an “active participant” in ongoing development, as well as contributing financial assistance. In addition to the core webOS code, HP will also release its ENYO application framework.
So, what does this mean for the ongoing development of webOS? There’s clearly going to be a lot of interest from the community of owners and developers, but what about manufacturers? Will any companies step up and actually release new hardware designed with webOS in mind? Honestly, that seems very unlikely to see from any major smartphone player, but we won’t completely discount the possibility of someone one day taking a shot at it.