Welcome to 2014, a year where webOS is on TV and HP is making smartphones again - only it's now making Android "voice tablets" (tablets that make phone calls) instead of webOS.
An HP Android tablet? Yes, it's more than a rumor that makes sense; it's now officially happening with the release of the HP Slate 7. HP confirmed that its second foray into tablets will feature Android 4.1 software rather than its own webOS.
HP CEO Meg Whitman said in an on-camera interview that her company has to offer a smartphone because that is becoming the primary computing device. Despite that assessment, Whitman now says that HP will not release a smartphone in 2013.
HP may have ceased production on webOS smartphones and tablets - for now, at least - but the company hasn't stopped working on the operating system that powered devices like the Palm Pre and HP Touchpad.
When HP began its firesale of its Touchpad tablet and declared that it would cease building webOS devices, it appeared as though the company was going to abandon the mobile computing business completely. That's not the case according to a recent interview with CEO Meg Whitman.
The Open webOS project has taken another step towards fulfilling HP's pledge to keep webOS alive. Following a promise to release webOS under an open source license, HP released a beta version of the code today. The code and development tools are the first step towards making the software that powered the Palm Pre and HP Touchpad useable for developers looking to put the software on other devices. HP has dropped efforts to build consumer products using webOS software, but the company has made 54 components and 450,000 lines of code available to developers. The final release of Open webOS is expected next month.
This week, news broke that key members of the Enyo and webOS development team were leaving HP and headed over to Google. The staff that was reported as leaving were said to be crucial members in the Enyo framework development and included leader of the project Matt McNulty. While this may have sounded like a death knell for the Open webOS project, HP has reaffirmed its commitment to the platform, and says that it plans to expand the number of staff working on the Open webOS project.
Back in September, HP let go over 500 of its webOS workface and it looks like another 275 more are next on the chopping block.
HP is living up to its word that it will release more parts of the webOS operating system to the open source community on a monthly basis, as it has just announced the availability of three new pieces of the system.
The HP TouchPad may have left the factory running webOS, but that hasn't stopped developers from shoe-horning Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich onto it. The Cyanogen Mod team has been hard at work getting a version of Android 4.0 working on the TouchPad, and, for the most part, they have been successful.