When HP abruptly announced it was discontinuing the TouchPad and ceasing work on any future devices running webOS, we took that to mean the underdog operating system had died a premature death. But when the company ousted bumbling CEO Leo Apotheker and replaced him with Meg Whitman, we had to wonder if webOS might have some life in it yet. Well, the company just came back with a final verdict and… not a lot has changed. The company will continue to develop webOS, as promised, but with the help of the open source community. In other words, webOS as a platform will live on, and developers both inside HP and out will spruce up the OS for interested OEMs (whoever they may be), along with people who already own webOS devices. Says Sam Greenblat, CTO of the outfit’s advanced technologies division: “We looked at all the various options we have on the table. We think this option for the tech industry and HP.”
Still, if you were hoping Whitman would resurrect the TouchPad and Pre 3 beyond just another fire sale, we hate to be the bearer of disappointing news. The bottom line: HP’s webOS hardware lineup is still dead — for now, at least. In an interview, Greenblat emphasized that HP might later choose to build devices running webOS, the same way any other OEM would evaluate any other operating system. And though he says there has been a “great deal” of interest in licensing the software, it remains unclear which manufactures, if any, will decide to give the OS a more immediate home.