HP makes WebOS open source

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It has been reported that HP has decided to make the WebOS software open source, posing a challenge to Google’s Android platform as phone manufacturers are starting to look for another choice in the OS for their devices. The company stated today that it is going to continue developing for and supporting WebOS; however through offering it to the community of open-source software. The technology giant is hoping to aid the process of application development by enabling any device manufacturer or developer modify or use the platform freely.

The announcement made today has brought resolution to one of the biggest failures of HP’s disappointing venture into the smartphone and tablet market. HP had acquired WebOS when it took over the struggling smartphone maker Palm during last year. HP used the OS in a number of smartphones before releasing its first ever tablet, the TouchPad, in July; however the devices then failed to take off in the market.

This August, HP had announced that it was going to stop manufacturing any more tablets or smartphone devices as its leadership was undergoing transition, and this rendered the future of the mobile platform, which had received positive reviews everywhere, uncertain. Some of the analysts stated that HP was thinking about selling the platform, while some others expected it to attempt designing another tablet, especially under its new CEO. However, it now appears that a new opportunity has opened up for WebOS, as its new status of an open source software offers it the ability to disrupt the strength of Android at a time when the Google platform looks to be surrounded with many challenges.

The open nature of Android had been a big factor in it being adopted by phone handset manufacturers, with it being a low cost solution which allows the developers to customize and modify the platform freely. Low cost and flexibility have helped it in competing against BlackBerry, iOS and other software, and companies such as Samsung, Motorola and HTC have all constructed huge businesses based on devices running on Android platform which have proven to be effective in competing against the Apple iPhone.

However, Android appears to be facing a number of challenges even as the hardware partners of the platform are increasing their dominance of the market. The open nature of the platform has made it vulnerable to legal challenges concerning patent infringements, which forces Google to face a complicated web of lawsuits which are filed against the manufacturers who use Google’s platform.

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