How HP and Open Source Can Save WebOS

Neil McAllister | InfoWorld | December 15, 2011

Hewlett-Packard's announcement last week that it plans to release the source code to WebOS under an open source license could be the former Palm platform's last, best hope of gaining a meaningful foothold in the mobile market -- but only if HP handles the transition to open source the right way.

Ever since it debuted in 2009, WebOS has struggled to win market share from its better-heeled rivals, including Apple iOS and Google Android. Sales figures of the first wave of WebOS devices were disappointing, to say the least. When HP acquired Palm in 2010, it vowed to breathe new life into the platform, but a concrete strategy never emerged. Just one month after shipping its TouchPad tablet, HP announced it would no longer manufacture WebOS devices, leaving WebOS without any hardware licensees.

That's a shame because those few customers who bought into the WebOS platform were generally enthusiastic about it. More important, developers liked it -- and a thriving independent developer community is crucial to the success of any OS, as Palm was well aware...