Operating Systems

Google Gets webOS Enyo Team

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According to the Verge the HP webOS team is now smaller-- the team working on Enyo (the webOS HTML5-based application framework) just left the company in favour of working with Google. 

EnyoApparently the Enyo engineering core (6 people in all, including project lead Matt McNulty) are to start working at Google from next month. What will they do? No one knows as yet, although one can easily assume the ex-HP group will join the Android team. 

After all, current Android design chief Matias Duarte is ex-Palm-- he worked on webOS until HP bought Palm back in 2010. 

The Chrome (either web browser or OS) team is also an option, seeing how Google invests heavily in HTML5 apps and development. 

What will happen to the now open source webOS? An HP statement simply says "the Open webOS project is on schedule and we remain committed to the roadmap announced in January."

Go HP's Core webOS Enyo Team Going to Google (The Verge)

Android Strategy Set for Change

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The Wall Street Journal reports Google will tighten control on Android OS-- providing a number of mobile vendors with early access to the latest Android builds and Nexus branding. 

Android fragmentationThis should result in the launch of a number of Nexus-branded smartphones later his year, all carrying Android 5.0 (code-named Jelly Bean).

Google already sells Galaxy Nexus smartphones (running Android 4.0) oon the Google Play online store. The WSJ suggests Google will expand retail operations further, selling Nexus phones from multiple vendors on the online and "potentially through some retailers." 

Current Android partners include Motorola, Samsung, Sony, HTC and Asus. The WSJ says Asus is also working on a co-branded Nexus tablet with Google.

The approach should reduce Android OS fragmentation, since the main vendors will be selling a flagship Android handset running the same version of the OS. 

The Android market incredibly fragmented-- according to developer OpenSignalMaps, Android 2.3 is the dominant Android version (55.4% share) among 61389 OSM app users. Android 2.2 follows (20.5%) with other, mostly older versions. Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) only has 8.5% share since its November 2011 launch.

Go Google Shifts Tack on Android (WSJ.com)

Go The Many Faces of a Little Green Robot (OpenSignalMaps)

HP (Finally) Decides on webOS' Fate

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HP finally answers the question on what will happen to webOS-- the company will neither sell nor discontinue the OS, but will instead "contribute" it to the open source community.

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

The announcement comes after months of speculation on how HP was going to sell webOS to anyone from Amazon to RIM and even Oracle-- but it appears HP remained empty-handed after trying to find a buyer.

So it did the second-best thing-- going to the charity shop instead of the dumpster.

HP mentions no future hardware plans so the TouchPad will probably remain the last HP-branded webOS device, at least for a while.

webOS has something of a rocky history-- from the $1.2BN Palm purchase in 2010 to HP spending $1.66BN to kill off Palm and webOS after ex-CEO Leo Apotheker announced the now-scrapped Garage Sale plans.

A bit of a sorry finale (one ending with not a bang, but a whimper) for once promising software, unless the open source community manages to make something great with it.

Go HP to Contribute webOS to Open Source

The True Costs (and Future) of webOS

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The real news in the HP Q4 2011 results is not whether the company made an overall profit (even if it did). It is how much HP spent on the Palm and webOS businesses-- a sum totalling well over $2 billion.

HP WebOSFirst off, one has to recall HP spent $1.2BN to buy Palm in the first place back in 2010, before releasing a couple of webOS-powered smartphones and the stillborn TouchPad tablet. Two other numbers emerge from the Q4 2011 results-- $885 million in "impairment of goodwill and purchased intangible assets" tied to webOS and Palm, and $775M relating on the decision to "wind-down the webOS device business."

The result? $1.66 billion, spent on killing off Palm and webOS.

What next for webOS? HP is still looking for a buyer, and Venturebeat says Intel and Qualcomm are still in talks over purchasing the Palm portfolio (at least according to the unnamed sources). However HP demands a caveat-- the license to use webOS in printers. And such a licensing deal is what keeps dragging Palm purchase negotiations on and on.

Maybe HP knows a fabulous secret on the synergy between webOS and printers? Or it has a finished webOS-powered printer awaiting release? We can't imagine "webOS-enabled" ever becoming a unique selling point for printers, but hopefully all will be clear(er) over the next few weeks-- or whenever HP decides the final fate for the Palm experiment.

Go HP Q4 2011 Results

Go As Palm Bidding Continues, HP Wants a Sweet Deal to Keep webOS in Printers (VentureBeat)

RIM Holds Back on Playbook OS Update

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RIM delays the release of the second BlackBerry Playbook OS version to February as it does like the tortoise-- working slowly yet (hopefully?) steadily. 

PlaybooksThe news comes from a blog post from Playbook senior VP David Smith, who says the OS update will include "advanced integrated e-mail, calendar and contact apps, a new video store, as well as new functionality that will allow your BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook to work together even better," the blog post says. 

One promised feature sees the chopping block though-- the Playbook BBM app, meaning Playbook users will have to continue using BlackBerry Bridge to use the Blackberry messenger service on a Blackberry tablet. 

A Playbook OS 2.0 beta is already available for developers taking part in RIM's Early Adpoter Program. Meanwhile, Playbook users will keep on waiting for the fabled email client promised within 60 days of launch... back in April. 

Go An Update on BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0