Will WebOS OpenSourcing disrupt Android OS Growth

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WebOS the once coveted proprietary software that cost HP 1.2 Billion to acquire, is now Open Source software, after tablets running on WebOS failed miserably. Analysts ponder if WebOS entry, as free licensed software, will disrupt the just –consolidating-phase of Android OS.

When WebOS was first launched, just six-seven months ago, it was a high net-worth, operating system that aspired to offer something more than what iOS was already offering on its devices.

However, when HP eventually launched its WebOS TouchPad tablet, the OS simply failed to impress, and the tablet quickly went on a ‘fire sale,’ and exit the tablet market segment.

Restructuring at HP

Following this colossal failure, HP too restructured as a company and the newly appointed CEO has finally found a solution on what to do with WebOS.

The result, after months of analysis at HP, has resulted in its CEO, announcing the WebOS entry into the free-to-use open source software, available like Google’s Android OS for use in any technology or device.

WebOS entry analyzed at two levels

Analysts are looking at the entry of WebOS as a free to use software on two levels. First consideration is on effectiveness of WebOS as open source software. Considering past failures of proprietary software, turned-to free software like MeeGo, Symbian and others, the possibilities, they see for WebOS seem rather limited.

Second consideration, is whether WebOS will compete against the Android OS and disrupt the latter’s just fledging market leadership as an iOS alternative. There is already great divisiveness in Android OS devices, as there are several players and few market leaders.

WebOS likely to succeed as a OS

WebOS in comparison to Symbian, already has its code ready for release and could prove to be a stand-alone success.

Will WebOS prove to be disruptive?

For a start, claiming WebOS will prove to be disruptive is hard to establish, as it’s too early to speculate.

Besides, Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility has lead to a clash of interest for other licensees. Again, though Google is able to support quality OS, its releases are circumspect. Releases of updates and versions are made, only if it suits Google. This already has raised concerns amongst Android OS users.

Moreover, the overall sluggish user experience, in comparison to iOS sleekness needs to be addressed as are recent developer expose of design flaws in Android OS.

HP’s ecosystem will prove to be the decider

However, the success of fire sale of HP’s TouchPad tablet proves that there is a ready user-base for WebOS and indicate that Android may well have a competitor.

While there is promise for WebOS on one hand, on the other hand, it will depend entirely on the kind of ecosystem HP is able to provide for WebOS community and developers. If HP could remain non-intrusive, despite being a public company, allowing developers to lead the way, then WebOS could be similar to what RHEL and Inc, are able to offer, otherwise it could lead to another disaster.

If one were to consider it, all successful Google Android OS devices so far, especially tablets are all forks of it. Amazon’s Kindle Fire runs on customized Android, while Samsung too has adapted the OS. This is definitely a point in favor of WebOS.

Today, Linux, Mozilla, RHEL, are successful open source platforms, driving hundreds of devices and technologies. Could WebOS prove to be successful, this time around?

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