HP’s acquisition of Palm was certainly one of worst buys in recent history — not the worst, of course — and now the company is trying to get something back from its $1.2 billion mistake. Bloomberg reports that HP has started removing some of the sales restrictions that it had placed on its mobile patents recently to entice more potential buyers to scoop them up. HP wouldn’t comment on Bloomberg’s report but it certainly makes sense for HP to start unloading some of its webOS-related patents since the company has no ambitions to develop its own mobile platform in the future and will instead rely on both Windows and Android for its tablets going forward.
FierceWireless had an interesting interview this week with Jon Rubinstein, the visionary CEO who almost brought Palm back from the grave. Palm’s innovative last webOS revision included many features that have later become commonplace in rival operating systems: multitasking, smooth messaging integration, a clever notification system. It’s not surprising that Rubinstein not only feels that Palm was a trailblazer but that other companies have still not yet caught up with how Palm implemented all these features a few years back. More →
LG (066570) on Monday announced that it had acquired webOS from HP for an undisclosed sum. Earlier reports noted that the two companies were in talks over a potential partnership as of last fall. Bill Veghte, executive VP for software and solutions at HP (HPQ), disclosed certain terms of the deal to AllThingsD on Tuesday. More →
Try though it might, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) just can’t seem to kill Palm’s legacy. With Samsung (005930) dominating the Android market and Google (GOOG) getting ready to finally make serious use of its $12.5 billion Motorola buy, LG (066570) is seemingly looking to hedge its Android bet. CNET on Monday confirmed that LG has acquired the webOS source code along with ”related documentation, engineering talent, and related webOS websites” from HP. The vendor reportedly only has plans to use the operating system on smart TVs, but as we’ve learned numerous times in the past, nothing is set in stone when it comes to webOS.
webOS is a lot like Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell: If enough people believe in it, it could really come back from the dead. Technology Review this week caught up with Matthew Zakutny, who “works as a project manager at a trenchless sewer repair company” during the day and who also recently founded Phoenix International Communications, a team of volunteers dedicated to fully reviving Palm’s new-defunct mobile operating system. Phoenix first got on our radar last month when we learned it was working on an Android app that would port webOS over to Android devices. But according to Technology Review, the group’s ambitions go much further. More →
Vampires, werewolves and zombies should all be envious of webOS’s resilience. Engadget reports that Phoenix International Communications, a team of volunteers and apparent webOS enthusiasts, have “managed to port [webOS] to a Samsung (005930) Nexus S device, running as an app inside Android.” The app is still pre-alpha so it’s obviously got a lot of issues that severely inhibit its usability. All the same, Android users who secretly pine for the days of the Palm Pre have something to be excited about for the future, as Engadget says the app could allow them to “seamlessly switch between webOS and Android without rebooting.” A video demonstration of webOS for Android is posted below. More →
WebOS’s transition from being HP’s (HPQ) failed mobile operating system to open source has been nothing short of strange. After HP killed webOS, consumers and developers were left wondering what kind of products it would find itself a home in. According to webOSNation, LG (06657011) is reportedly building a Smart TV with Gram (an open source webOS port) that will replace the company’s NetCast Smart TV platform.
After taking the wraps off Open webOS 1.0 last Friday, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has posted job listings for engineers in Shanghai, China and Sunnyvale, California, The Power Base reports. A total of 53 job listings have been made public. Positions include senior Linux software engineers, senior visual designer, senior product manager and many more. The Power Base says that these are high-paying positions and it shows HP is serious about reviving webOS as an open source operating system.
WebOS, the dearly departed mobile operating system developed by Palm and purchased by HP (HPQ), is open source at last. HP on Friday took the wraps off of Open webOS 1.0, which has “an OpenEmbedded build that allows a full webOS experience running inside an OE emulator,” along with core email and browsing applications that can be ported onto different devices. HP says it will continue adding key features to Open webOS in the coming months, including open sourced media and audio components, the BlueZ Bluetooth stack and optimized SysMgr rendering architecture. A video demonstration of how to port Open webOS onto an HP device is posted below. More →
Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) first attempts at the mobile market didn’t fare well. CEO Meg Whitman revealed in an interview with Fox Business News, however, that the company will have to “ultimately” offer another smartphone. Whitman gave no timetable on the device, although she noted that HP must “get it right” this time around and cannot rush things. The CEO also openly admitted that the company was not interested in buying or licensing the BlackBerry platform from Research in Motion (RIMM), noting that it was not the direction it was going to head. HP purchased Palm for $1.2 billion in April 2010 in the hopes of entering the smartphone market. The acquisition turned out be a disaster and after a number of failed products, HP killed off its webOS platform in August 2011, only to open-source the operating system the following December. More →
It’s hard to keep an undead mobile operating system down. webOS Nation reports that HP (HPQ) is forming a new company called Gram that is dedicated to “leveraging the core strengths of webOS, Enyo and our cloud offerings.” As the site notes, the founding of Gram means that HP will not be using webOS for consumer electronics anymore and will instead use it for its enterprise products including “software, user experience, the cloud, engineering, and partnering.” However, there’s still no official word on what the company’s offerings will be, and webOS Nation says that current webOS employees “are being advised that they can talk to friends and family about Gram, but strangers are to be told that ‘Gram is a new company. We are in stealth mode on our product offering.’ ” More →
Hewlett-Packard will cut 275 of its 500 remaining employees on the webOS team as its mobile platform transitions to open source, WebOS Nation reported on Tuesday. “As webOS continues the transition from making mobile devices to open source software, it no longer needs many of the engineering and other related positions that it required before,” the company said in a statement. “This creates a smaller and more nimble team that is well-equipped to deliver an open source webOS and sustain HP’s commitment to the software over the long term.” While positions are being cut, HP hopes to redeploy employees to other areas of the company. The move leaves the webOS team with roughly 225 workers. More →
When the HP TouchPad was released in the summer of 2011 it did little to impress consumers, leading to the tablet being discontinued after a mere 49 days on the market. Remaining TouchPad stock received substantial price reductions, dropping to as low as $99 dollars during a huge fire sale. Shortly after inventory ran dry, crafty hackers had announced their intention to run the Android operating system in replace of WebOS on the TouchPad, and progress thus far has been slow, with alpha versions being released that are fairly stable but have serious bugs. In an act of good will, HP has now released an Android kernel source code to the hacking community. Read on for more. More →