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HP CEO Meg Whitman  (Source: itnewsafrica.com)
Many expect Whitman to address what HP plans to do with webOS, which former CEO Leo Apotheker decided to kill back in August

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has had a bit of a rocky year due to a few decisions made by former CEO Leo Apotheker, but current CEO Meg Whitman has been cleaning up the mess piece by piece, including deciding the fate of the company's mobile operating system webOS.

Whitman is expected to finally announce the company's plans for webOS today at an all-hands meeting set for 10:30 a.m. Pacific.

Back in August of this year, Apotheker made two startling announcements that rocked HP's world: HP was selling off its PC unit (which was later switched to a spin-off PC unit instead), and the company was killing off its TouchPad tablet with accompanying mobile operating system webOS.

HP acquired webOS from gadget-maker Palm Inc. in April 2010. The OS was initially used for smartphones and later adapted to HP's TouchPad tablet. But due to problems like overproduction and slow hardware releases, the tablet didn't sell the way many expected and ended up costing the company $100 million in unsold inventory, according to Apple Insider.

Despite the TouchPad's failure, investors were shocked at the death of webOS as well as a spin-off PC unit and the company's stock took a plunge. Apotheker was eventually fired September 22, 2011 and Whitman took the helm.

After taking care of the PC spin-off issue, Whitman is now expected to address HP's plans with webOS. Last month, Whitman said she wanted to think through the webOS situation thoroughly before making any solid decisions.

Many expect that the all-hands meeting this morning will provide the answers many have been waiting for.

Updated 12/9/2012 @ 1:52pm
HP has just announced that it will be taking its webOS mobile operating system open source. The company still hasn't committed to further producing its own hardware based around the operating system, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't change its mind in the future. Here's the press release:

HP today announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community.

HP plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS. By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.

webOS offers a number of benefits to the entire ecosystem of web applications. For developers, applications can be easily built using standard web technologies. In addition, its single integrated stack offers multiplatform portability. For device manufacturers, it provides a single web-centric platform to run across multiple devices. As a result, the end user benefits from a fast, immersive user experience.

“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”

HP will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Developers, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers can deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace.

HP will engage the open source community to help define the charter of the open source project under a set of operating principles:

  • The goal of the project is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform
  • HP will be an active participant and investor in the project
  • Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation
  • Software will be provided as a pure open source project

HP also will contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the community in the near future along with a plan for the remaining components of the user space.

Beginning today, developers and customers are invited to provide input and suggestions at http://developer.palm.com/blog/" rel="nofollow.


Sources: precentral.net, Apple Insider, HP



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RE: Just sell it
By kleinma on 12/9/2011 10:19:26 AM , Rating: 3
While its multitasking is superior to the current offerings like android and iPhone, it still isn't really that great. I have a touchpad, and I like the swipe up to get your list, and swipe up to close apps, but who's idea was to just make a giant horizontal row of running apps. Sure if you have just 2-3 windows open, it works pretty well, but once I have several things open, and want to switch, I have to traverse a whole sea of windows to get where i want. It is like hitting alt+tab in windows to switch between stuff when you have 20 windows open. It is not intuitive and it takes more time than it should. A grid of windows would have been a much better way to do it.


RE: Just sell it
By retrospooty on 12/9/2011 10:55:59 AM , Rating: 3
I am 99% positive you can resize that to do exactly what you say. Next time you get that horizontal row, press and hold one of the windows/tasks. It should put all open tasks into view on the screen at the same time.

I really dont care fro the OS as a whole, but someone HAS to buy the mutitasking UI. It is way above and beyond anything that IOS, Android, Win7,Metro,BB, or any other OS has. It would suck to lose it. It's the one thing I really hate moving from my old Pre to my Droid3.


RE: Just sell it
By Piiman on 12/9/2011 4:01:17 PM , Rating: 2
How so? If I launch a web page and then go do something else and back to the web page it doesn't load until you come back and activate it. It acts more like a task switching OS sometimes than multitasking. Everyone seems to think that cards are better multitasking because they like swiping them but as far as multitasking goes it doesn't seem any better than any other and at times doesn't seem to be multtasking at all.
So what makes you claim it is head an shoulders above all the others?


RE: Just sell it
By retrospooty on 12/9/2011 4:42:48 PM , Rating: 3
"So what makes you claim it is head an shoulders above all the others? "

Huh? Its not just me, its pretty much anyone that has ever used it agrees with that.

IOS and Android multitasking. (with just 2 apps to make it easy)
Open app > go to home > touch icon to open other app > go to home > touch icon to switch back to first app.

WebOS
Open app > swish upward to minimize app > touch icon to open other app > swish upward and all open apps are right there.

OK typing it out isnt much shorter, but in actual use its not just a little better, its miles above. Even better on a phone than the Touchpad, becasue shorter faster swipes.

FYI, I forget his name, but Palm hired the dood that designed the iPhone UI away from Apple to do WebOS's UI. Basically, its his "it would have been better if it worked this way" 2nd attempt.


RE: Just sell it
By seamonkey79 on 12/9/2011 6:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
Android... touch button, touch app to switch... touch button, touch app to switch back.

I'd rather have a button to push than a 'swish upwards' personally :-)


RE: Just sell it
By johnsonx on 12/10/2011 3:04:12 AM , Rating: 2
The TouchPad has a button too you know, it does exactly what the swipe-up gesture does, and generally exactly what the android home button does. I think most people new to webOS with the touchpad probably just use the button, but those coming from the phones (me for example) tend to use the gesture. The gestures aren't even the same, but still feel more natural than finding a physical button.

HP originally intended for only the button to be used, and the swipe-up gesture wasn't originally in webOS 3.0; it was added in 3.0.2 by popular demand from webOS phone users.


RE: Just sell it
By johnsonx on 12/10/2011 3:05:23 AM , Rating: 2
and, for those who just don't like the swipe-up gesture, it can be disabled in Screen and Lock settings.


RE: Just sell it
By retrospooty on 12/11/2011 7:11:12 AM , Rating: 2
"Android... touch button, touch app to switch... touch button, touch app to switch back"

The part your example is missing is the "sort through the list of all your apps to find the one you want to open". WebOS when you swish up, shows only open apps, so you can quickly, with one hand switch from email, to phone, to contact search, to spreadseet, to whatever apps you are runnning. The more you mutitask, the more time it saves, the heavier you multitask, the more powerful of a tool it becomes.


RE: Just sell it
By ChronoReverse on 12/12/2011 4:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
No. Android goes like this:

1) Have Task Changer installed
2) To switch apps just do a flick from a zone to alt-tab

If I have multiple apps then it's:

1) Do a flick from a different zone to bring up the running apps icons.
2) Tap the appropriate app

Oh yes, I do this on my Touchpad running Xron CM7.1 where the new wifi fixes makes it better than on WebOS.

WebOS multitasking is pretty but it's not the most efficient by any measure. Too bad so many people are letting the pretty cards influence them.


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