One of the most consistent sentiments we've been hearing in the last couple of weeks about the seeming demise of webOS has been that it's a shame, because as an operating system it really is rather good.
Well the good news is that the point doesn't seem to be lost on owner HP, and the little OS that could may just have a future after all.
That's according to correspondence from a couple of senior HP execs that have managed to escape into the wider world. Being internal memos between staffers there's a fair amount of corporate-speak, but the gist of it all is that HP wants to split its webOS operation in two – one side working on hardware and the other on software.
The net result will be the removal of HP hardware considerations from webOS' development altogether, leaving the company to push ahead to license the platform to outside manufacturers – in line with a rumour we heard a couple of months ago.
“Earlier this month, I told you about our difficult but necessary decision to discontinue the development of our webOS hardware devices” HP executive VP Todd Bradley wrote in an email to staff.
“However, the webOS platform that powers these devices continues to demonstrate its ability to improve how our customers look up information, access entertainment and stay connected on the go.”
Another exec VP, Shane Robison, wrote that “webOS is still a great asset” but that the current setup would be split down the line and that “we have decided not to initiate any integration activities”.
Are the leaks genuine? Probably, and if so it's good news of a sort for the webOS fans out there.
But in the cold light of day it doesn't actually change things too much. The mobile operating system landscape is a cutthroat place right now, and even with webOS' strengths, it's going to take some doing to get outside hardware makers to bite.