Hewlett-Packard said that it would release a new breed of tablets based on webOS operating system in 2013 following its decision to make it open source and share the code with third parties. Apparently, the company still bets on webOS-based tablets, but this time it wants third parties to help it with the platform.
“We are so excited about webOS and realized that the very best thing to do is to open source the technology, contribute to it and invest in it. We will harness the power of the community to make this a better alternative to to other operating systems,” said Meg Whitman, chief exec of HP in an interview with Techcrunch web-site.
In particular, while HP clearly does not want to continue developing the webOS for smartphones, it wants to continue to work and contribute to the platform for tablets. HP will be one of those companies that will develop webOS tablets. But HP does not plan introduce slates powered by webOS in 2012, but will attempt to do this in 2013.
While there are a number of industrial examples when multiple companies could develop a viable open-source operating system (Android is the best example), at present HP simply has no partners to co-develop webOS. The absolute majority of hardware designers are currently interested in Google Android, Microsoft Windows Phone and Microsoft Windows 8 on ARM, whereas for software designers it may make no sense to develop applications for Apple iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and webOS.
When developing its own Palm/HP webOS platform for mobile phones and tablets, HP had to compete against Apple, Google and Microsoft. By making webOS open source, Hewlett-Packard wanted to secure partners among hardware makers who would help to make webOS competitive against Android, iOS and Windows Phone. However, it is hard to expect a lot of large companies to actually start contributing to webOS due to overwelming popularity of existing platforms and uncertain future of webOS.