I have heard of WebOS from HP but knew nothing about it. I guess I assumed it was another in-house OS like Symbian, etc. SJVN set me straight. It’s yet another environment on top of the Linux kernel. So, while I was clueless and thinking Android/Linux on ARM was the big play this year to get GNU/Linux into the PC game widely, in fact, the number one PC OEM is talking up WebOS, based on Linux, on general PCs.
To me HP has always been about almost indestructible power supplies and lab equipment. I had little to do with Compaq stuff until I got back into teaching. I see HP in IDC’s scorecard but did not connect the dots with them doing something in-house with Linux except shipping some servers and workstations. This WebOS thing is seriously aimed at consumers, and SJVN is right, this will probably provoke some chair-throwing. Good.
Here are some press releases from HP:
- 2010-10-19 WebOS 2.0
- 2011-2-9 HP TouchPad – This is ARMed so it fit my vision.
- 2011-2-9 HP shows its stuff in the Think Beyond event. Products shown: Veer smartphone, Pre3 smartphone, both with slideout keyboards and awareness of docking/location, TouchPad with fantastic multitasking and synergy between smartphone and TouchPad and cloud services.
This raises the bar for usability. Stuff that Ubuntu has on the horizon is already working smoothly in these implementations. Palm and HP have been working 5 years on this and it shows. No wonder this technology is aimed at the whole personal computing space. It is second to none and certainly blows that other OS away. People will choose ARM just to run this software but HP obviously is looking at seemless integration with smartphone, TouchPad and notebooks or desktops. This is a killer OS and Linux is underneath making all those context switches with no one noticing.
Here’s HP’s video. From about 1:37:00 onward, HP mentions bringing WebOS to the largest installed base of connected people on the planet. They mean the devices they ship including PCs. As the largest OEM of PCs, this move will have M$ shaking in its boots. Not only will we have the choice of various distros including Ubuntu and Android we will have WebOS on retail shelves. HP is committed to going all-in to this Linux platform and they will push it unlike Dell. This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. This means that in a year or two hundreds of millions more users of GNU/Linux will be free of M$ (they talk about 2 PCs per second…).
see The Register