The Nexus 7 is Google’s flagship 7 inch tablet. It represents both the ideals behind the Android Open Source Project and the commitment to quality hardware we have come to expect from Google’s Nexus line of devices. Being on the forefront of the open source realm, it comes as no surprise that the device has seen a tremendous amount of development and modification. The device has seen ports and ROM’s of every type, from Ubuntu to Jelly Bean. The latest groundbreaking piece of software for the Nexus 7 has arrived in the form of an untethered (meaning no PC connection is required to boot and run the firmware) port of HP’s webOS.
webOS suffered an untimely demise when HP decided to axe the TouchPad, but it still lives thanks to a dedicated and enthusiastic community of users who strongly believe in it. XDA Senior Member noahk423 brought the Nexus 7 port to our attention via this post in our forums. It would appear that @webosports and the Open webOS crew have released the build to the public. While previous work in this field ran little risk, the older builds were barely functional alphas that required a steady PC connection (also known as a ‘tethered installation’). The newest alpha build, a modification of the Galaxy Nexus build, requires a PC to boot, but runs on its own after that. Additionally, hardware acceleration has not been fully realized, meaning there is still plenty of work to be done.
The main point of attraction for webOS fanatics is the user interface. Maybe soon Nexus 7 owners will be able to use it as a daily driver. With all the advancements in porting and building new ROMs for the Nexus 7, it stands to reason that webOS would make its way to the device. Who knows? Perhaps the next release of the port will be compatible with the Nexus 7 Multi-Boot we reported on a couple weeks ago. Keep your eyes on the Portal for more information!
October 5, 2012 By: Jimmy McGee
This has been another great week at the XDA Portal. XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan covers all the news you need to know to keep up to date on mobile phone developments. Jordan mentions Gidder, the Git server for Android. Jordan mentions the mobile FTP server. Jordan mentions XDA Developer TV videos for this week including: XDA Developer TV Producer Erica’s discussion of mobile device screen technology and XDA Developer TV Producer TK’s review of AnyTAG NFC Launcher.
In Open webOS news Jordan mentions the articles, talking about Open webOS and the Port to the Galaxy Nexus. Also, mentioned is the release of Windows Phone 7.8 for the HTC Trophy, Arrive, and 7 Pro. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
October 4, 2012 By: jerdog
Just a few days ago we told you about Open webOS being ported to the Galaxy Nexus. Now, the WebOS Ports team has released the source code. They have been extremely kind to the open source community, and have provided everything you need in order to build the port for the Galaxy Nexus.
With this also comes the ability to port this to other devices as well. While there isn’t anything currently in the works on XDA, let’s hope that this news sparks new interest in an OS that has potential to grow outside of Palm and HP’s (mis)management.
You can view the source build instructions on the WebOS-Ports wiki page.
Many grew up with The Little Engine That Could, a tale about the power of optimism and hard work. The goal is to spread hope through the metaphor of a little blue engine that defied all odds despite what others say. To keep motivated, the little engine chants, “I think I can; I think I can; I think I can.”
Open Source: a philosophy, or pragmatic methodology that promotes free redistribution and access to an end product’s design and implementation details.
From it’s beginnings with the Palm Pre in 2009, webOS has always been a unique animal in the mobile device market. Using the metaphor of cards that could be flung off the screen to terminate tasks, its approach to multitasking was unique at a time when iOS couldn’t / wouldn’t do it. The Palm Pre itself was actually a pretty nice device at the time, but like everything else Palm did, they bungled webOS and it never really took off. In April 2010, HP acquired the OS. After numerous, half-hearted attempts to take the OS forward, including the release of the HP TouchPad to compete in the expanding tablet market, they finally announced that they would halt device production and webOS development in August 2011. This lead to speculation that webOS would be killed off or sold to the highest bidder.
XDA exists so that like-minded developers can come and share their work and knowledge, as well as learn from others. We encourage open source development because that’s how true innovation happens. And without open source development, our favorite OS Android would not be where it is today. So when HP announced late last year that webOS would be open sourced rather than killed, the development community leaped at the news.
Except for a tidbit earlier this year about an HTC Evo 3D running a very dirty port of webOS, all has been mostly quiet on the Open webOS front. But now word is leaking out from the webOS-Ports team that webOS is being ported to the Galaxy Nexus. They have provided a video showing the device booted up with webOS and WiFi working, but it is quite obvious that hardware acceleration is drastically needed before this is actually usable—not to mention all of the phone functions, etc.
What makes this extremely interesting is that we are seeing the epitome of open source development. We have software—in this case a mobile OS—that the manufacturer no longer wishes to or is capable of supporting and improving. Then, you have a group of developers who see the potential of said software. And after a lot of hard (often thankless) work, we have the makings of another alternative for the mobile community. This is the crux of what makes XDA what it is. We look forward to seeing where this project goes.
Many, many months ago, we brought you news that HP took a good hard look at webOS, and decided that the only plausible direction to take it in was to make it open source. We may never say this again, but good call HP. Considering that most media outlets openly speculated about when webOS would be taken out of its misery, making it open source could very well be its last chance at being relevant. Well, the long wait is over, as HP has just launched the Open webOS Project.
HP has done quite a bit of work for OWOSP. According to the official Open webOS Project website:
It has taken a lot of hard work, long hours and weekend sacrifices by our engineering team to deliver on our promise and we have accomplished this goal.
The Beta release is comprised of 54 webOS components available as opensource. This brings over 450,000 lines of code released under the Apache 2.0 license, which is one of the most liberal and accepted in the open source community.
The launch page goes on to describe all the features and fun that developers have at their disposal. This includes not one, but two build environments and a plethora of other features. Some more include:
OpenEmbedded was a natural choice for many reasons:
Its widespread community adoption
Excellent cross-compiling support for embedded platforms
And support for multiple hardware architectures
Needless to say, this is exciting. While it’ll probably never reach the relevance or the popularity of Android, the idea of there being a second open source mobile OS to play with is pretty great. There could be some awesome development for webOS, and much of it could spill into Android territory if developers can get webOS running on Android devices. That would be a complete turn from the top thread in the webOS development and hacking forum, which deals with running Android on webOS. There are other possibilities as well, as our Portal Administrator Will Verduzco once pointed out:
Imagine an HTC HD2 capable of running 6 mobile OSes.
With this release, HP is hoping to bring back the dead. And for once, they are actually doing a good job of it. For more info, feel free to check out any of the links above, or you can always go to the OWOSP official website.
February 13, 2012 By: Ian Stacy
Since HP announced the release of the webOS source code, the recently abandoned operating system has grown a rather loyal following. Progress has been made in homebrew development and in custom builds for webOS native devices. Many forum members have been clamoring for a port of webOS to Android devices for several months now. Initial ports were expected to appear for the Motorola Droid or its GSM counterpart, the Milestone, since the devices share the same OMAP3 3430 processor with the Palm Pre (the very first native webOS device).
Recently an HTC EVO 3D was spotted running a build of webOS 3.0, the version that came with the notorious HP TouchPad. Originally posted by Ryan Hope (@_puffthemagic_) on Twitter, the 3 still images of webOS running have now been supplemented with a YouTube video that can be found here. While not functional enough for actual use, the operating system boots without issue. Ryan originally started work on the port before HP released the source code for webOS. With the release of both the Android kernel and the full webOS source porting progress can only move forward from here. Could this mean widespread availability of webOS ports on Android devices soon? Depending on interest level and developer involvement, it is a possibility!
January 26, 2012 By: liwen
Since HP announced that it would open source webOS, there have been lots of questions on how exactly HP plans to do that, and what such a move could bring. While the future for webOS is still very much up in the air, the process of open sourcing the mobile operating system originally developed by Palm has now begun, with the release of the Enyo 1.0 source code and the introduction of the brand new Enyo 2.0.
The more significant thing here, however, is Enyo 2.0. HP is apparently keeping their promise to continue development of webOS, and Enyo 2.0 brings several advantages over its predecessor. It finally makes good on its original aim and is fully browser-independent, claiming to work in “any modern browser, desktop or mobile” as long as it supports HTML5. This could be an incentive for developers to build apps using Enyo, since it’ll work basically everywhere, even including other mobile and desktop operating systems – if it succeeds in creating a vibrant developer community and app ecosystem, it would make it much easier for HP to bring out new webOS devices in the future by negating one of its strongest shortcomings.
Even better, HP plans to bring Open webOS in “late summer” to owners of the discontinued TouchPad, and is even “looking” at all other webOS devices like the Pre, Pixi and Veer. While we can’t know yet whether webOS will be able to gain enough traction, this is certainly great news for owners of current webOS devices.
At last glance, people who took advantage of the super awesome clearance sale of the HP Touchpad have the option of keeping WebOS on their tablets or throwing some CyanogenMod goodness on there.
Now, Touchpad owners have yet another option for their increasingly versatile tablets and that option is Arch Linux ARM. XDA Member crimsonredmk has released an alpha release of the popular operation system that’s HP Touchpad compatible. Being an alpha release, of course, means that there’s a few bugs and kinks that still need to be worked out, including:
So if you can live without a few things for the time being and this looks like something you would like to try out, you can find a full changelog, installation instructions, additional details and screenshots in the original thread found here. Also, as crimsonredmk says:
Read the README and make sure you understand what works and what does not.
So be sure to read all the documentation before attempting so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Not too shabby for a device that’s been discontinued multiple times. Sadly, they don’t sell these anymore so if this is the development you’ve been waiting on to buy one, you’re now stuck surfing eBay or Craigslist.
Since HP announced yesterday that it would contribute WebOS to the open source community, there’s been a lot of uncertainty as to its future. Of course, it’s nice to have another open source platform, and yes, WebOS hasn’t been killed off, so that’s the good news; what this means for the platform, developers, and, ultimately, consumers, however, is another question altogether. Just making WebOS open source doesn’t necessarily stop it from fading into irrelevance.
First and foremost, this move is an easy way to stop losing money: a formal discontinuation would involve write-offs on earnings, which may cost more than simply letting a few people continue working on it, with the community taking care of the rest. In this case, it’s worrying that HP didn’t sell off its WebOS/Palm assets, which implies that it couldn’t find any buyers. But for now, let’s give HP the benefit of doubt and assume the open-sourcing was actually a conscious decision.
Despite little consumer success, WebOS has always had a very active homebrew community, which HP is obviously counting on for help in further development. According to a poll on PreCentral, most current WebOS users are quite happy with this news; after all, open source is the reason Android took off, right?
Android, at the time of its introduction, was clearly marketed as the anti-iPhone: to device vendors that wanted a finger-friendly alternative to Windows Mobile and Symbian, carriers looking to diversify their portfolio, and consumers who couldn’t afford or didn’t want an iPhone. Still, initial sales were lackluster; it was only with massive marketing campaigns for the original Motorola Droid and high-end devices like the HTC Desire that Android picked up steam in early 2010. With that, and lots of backing from Google, came the developers and apps, which finally established Android as a viable platform.
WebOS never had any of these. Palm alone didn’t have enough cash, and even HP had no chance against Google, HTC, Samsung, Motorola et al. Most importantly, the platform never attracted many developers, with only about 7.000 apps in its app catalog (compare that to over half a million for Android and 40.000 for Windows Phone).
So, we’re coming to the final pitfall that’s hindered WebOS in the past and will continue to hinder it even more in the future: hardware. At the time of its original launch in mid-2009, the Pre was a quite decent device, but two years later, HP simply wasn’t able to compete in the race to faster processors, bigger screens, and better design. Therefore, the big question is: How are people actually going to use WebOS in the future?
That is, on what devices?
While HP is considering to make WebOS tablets in 2013, they definitely won’t make any more smartphones. And there aren’t any obvious reasons why other hardware vendors should use WebOS instead of Android or Windows Phone, both of which have stronger developer support.
In the end, what’s left are current owners of WebOS devices, who, despite everything, can be happy with HP’s decision. Since the TouchPad firesale, even its most fervent supporters should have realized that WebOS is never going to become a mainstream success; instead, they – and all those deal hunters who made HP last quarter’s no. 2 tablet maker – can now look forward to the community messing around with the source code, fixing bugs and implementing new features.
But, hey, who knows. If everything goes well, WebOS would become much more open than Android. It’d be developed by the community, and not a single company. And, the WebOS division would be able to operate like a start-up, hopefully spurring even more innovation. It could be used in niche products that require custom operating systems, and whatnot. With its well-designed UI, it definitely has potential, and the open-sourcing could prove to be a new beginning. Even though that’s unlikely.
At least it’s not dead. Yet.
(A personal note: Of course I’d also like to see WebOS ported for my HTC HD2. That’d be amazing.)
December 9, 2011 By: Will Verduzco
Yep, you are still alive. And no, we haven’t been transported to The Twilight Zone!
Less than two weeks ago, HP stated that they were in the process of evaluating the future of webOS. They have now reached a conclusion that is sure to come as a shock to many who expected the mobile OS to be put to pasture. HP has just announced their plan to contribute the source code to the open source community. While even we may question the OS’s relevance, this is truly great news for all.
Prior to the HP TouchPad fire sale, webOS devices largely failed to gain traction in the mobile OS landscape. Hanging for dear life at just 2% smartphone market share in US, the future for HP’s mobile OS looked very bleak. However, putting things into the hands of enthusiasts will yield nothing but good results for owners of webOS devices and for those who would like to hack webOS onto their non-webOS devices.
Currently, the vast majority of webOS development activity we’ve seen has involved the removal of webOS, rather than its enhancement or having it ported to other devices. Now that the source code is set to be released, the real fun can begin. Imagine an HTC HD2 capable of running 6 mobile OSes. With full access to the webOS source code, developers can now make this happen. How about tailoring the OS itself to your liking in a complete, source-built modification such as CyanogenMod? This is now possible, as well!
You can bet that the developers and hackers on our forums will be up to the task. Those interested in tracking the progress as the source is released should head over to our webOS Development and Hacking forum.
Now that webOS will be opened up, are you any more likely to partake in the next fire sale? Let us know in the comments section below!
December 1, 2011 By: Russell Holly
There isn’t a sadder story in the mobile world than that of WebOS. It had such potential as a platform. Multitasking was pretty good, the modders and hackers really took a liking to how much you could play with it, and it really seemed like it had a pretty bright future ahead of it. Unfortunately, it suffered from a sever case of really awful hardware. With the exception of the Touchpad (which has a forum on XDA), which was sadly too late to save the platform, all of the hardware that ran WebOS was inadequate. Having already suffered the blow of being sold to HP, the platform seemed like it was on its was out after the TouchPad failed. With the livelihood of over 600 employees, not to mention my desire to have a fourth contender in the smartphone fight hanging in the balance, there’s been quite a bit of pressure to know what the next step is for WebOS. According to a recent interview with the new CEO of HP, Meg Whitman, we’re only two short weeks away from knowing for sure.
According to an interview in Le Figaro, Whitman plans to announce their decision regarding the wayward platform in two weeks. She was recently quoted saying that HP currently “didn’t know what kind of company it was” and that they were still figuring that out. Since her arrival as CEO, Whitman has already recanted the decision to spin off the computer side of HP’s business, so who is to say that the same won’t happen to WebOS? Plus, there’s the possibility that WebOS could be licensed out? The rumors have been gathering that Samsung and HTC might be looking for ways to escape the Android bootprint should Motorola and Google join forces, could HP be planning to just be the software delivery mechanism to WebOS? Right now it’s all speculation, but what is certain is that this decision in two weeks will do a great deal to shape the public opinion of Meg Whitman as CEO.
Oh, Meg Whitman, I wish I could say that I had any more faith in your ability to direct WebOS than I did from your predecessor. Seeing as how your job was to evict Mr. Apotheker from his former position as CEO and your complete and total lack of experience in either the PC industry or the Smartphone industry, my guess is you would like to make WebOS disappear. You know that dissolving a 600 employee strong department will seriously tarnish public opinion of you early on in your new career, and you know that as of right now WebOS has been nothing more than a tremendous expense to the company you are now tasked to run. So please, for your sake, have an actual plan in two weeks.
Rumors are flying about HP and their potential GPL violation by not releasing the source code of the Android kernel sold on three Touchpads so far. Many of them are speculation, much of it over-hyped, but the fact that we speculate points to how many questions go unanswered and how much interest there is in the matter.
A short history for people just tuning in on the issue: In HP’s Touchpad firesale, three known devices shipped with Android 2.2. Because the Android kernels and drivers are protected by the GPL version 2, all distributed modifications to the source code must be published if they mass distribute, intended to distribute, or publicly release the device. HP did not publish their Android kernel modifications, and therefore may be violating the GPL.
There are a few reasons we can’t say they are definitely violating the GPL. First, leaks don’t count as mass distribution, or as intent to distribute. This is why, when a few users approached HP about the GPL violation, HP responded, “HP Palm doesn’t support Android and has not authorized anyone to provide consumers with the Android OS for Touchpad.” Saying there is no intent to distribute is not enough to stave obligations to the general public. Yet, it’s only 3 devices. Not only does that not qualify as mass distribution, but it’s such an insignificant number of Android Touchpads that HP has plausible deniability on their side, and obviously imply it’s a leak in their response. It all depends on why Android was installed those three devices, who installed it–in other words, whether HP is responsible–and whether the truth of the matter qualifies according to GPL definitions.
As far as most people understand it, HP developers were either bored or testing. They rushed those Touchpads out the door with all the others in the firesale and did not install WebOS. If the developers were bored, it’s a leak. Their actions were in no way sanctioned by HP. If the developers were testing for HP, it’s still a leak because the release was unintentional, but they may be liable. HP did not deny that they sanctioned the actions of their developers, only that they did not sanction the distribution of that work. People have to pay for their mistakes too, not just what they intend to do.
Trsohmers, formerly of the TouchDroid team, came to me with a different version of the story. He says that HP used Android’s Linux foundation in the factory to test for faulty devices. This isn’t simply speculation. According to Green, who works with kernels for the CyanogenMod Touchpad team and posts their Touchpad videos on his YouTube channel, the team received an anonymous email that included a state-of-the-art Cypress Semiconductors touchscreen driver and a censored email. The drivers are hyper-accurate and used to test device limits, so the CM team couldn’t use them. However, their quality make Cypress Semiconductors undeniably the manufacturer, and the fact that they aren’t something just anyone could have lends credibility to the email. That is, the driver came from an inside source, and so, therefore, must the email. The email said this (grammatical errors are original):
In fact before HP refreshing their webOS image, all HP touchpad TSP controller board were used Android to run the MFG procedure. Attached file is the latest TMA395 Android driver. The significant difference is that the HP touchpad TSP controller firmware has no bootloader support so when you want to bring up the device with this driver a little effort need be cost take care of this difference. This job has been done by HP software team before.
The email says it’s not just a sample of devices from each batch, but every Touchpad is loaded with Android in the manufacturing process. If true, the fact that HP used Android to install WebOS is not a violation of the GPL. Using GPL-protected code for private use is perfectly legal. The significance is in the degree to which HP sanctioned the development of Android on the Touchpad. Still the same rules, three devices is more of a leak than anything, but now HP cannot deny that the sale of the Android Touchpads was their mistake.
Moreover, because you don’t need a license to use Android the way HP did, it’s highly unlikely that they got Android relicensed by Google. This is further supported by the fact that they didn’t include it in their defense against the public demand for their Android kernel modifications. So the good news for the general public is that if HP’s mistake can qualify as a GPL violation, it’s extremely unlikely that they have a license to disqualify the violation.
This leaves only a couple steps until HP may be taken to court. Someone needs to make it legally clear that HP distributed or made public their Android build for the Touchpad, according to the GPL. We know they distributed them–two were bought at Best Buys in Oklahoma and Texas, and the third was bought from Wal-Mart in New Hampshire. Whether or not this counts as distribution according to the GPL is what needs legal arguing.
If you have any information to clarify or fill in the blanks of the story, please contact me, or any other news writer. We respect wishes to remain anonymous.
August 30, 2011 By: egzthunder1
Amazingly enough, the HP Touchpad seems to be among the best selling pads in the mobile world. If you think about it, getting a dual core pad with 16 GB of storage for about US$100 (about 4 times cheaper than the iPad), would definitely be enough incentive to get it even if you don’t need or want it. Because of this move by HP, developers all over the world have their hands on at least one (or are about to), and are all working towards making this device reach its true potential. XDA member amirborna seems to be in this same boat as he has posted a way to overclock the tab’s processors (both of them) to 1.9 GHz. The only caveat is that at such speeds, the device becomes a bit unstable. However, it can still be safely overclocked to 1.7 GHz (on both cores as well) and have 0 issues in the process. According to the dev, the device becomes far more responsive than with stock clock values, more fluid, and best of all, it does not affect the battery due to the small difference in voltage requirements at the higher frequency values.
The guide is very concise and it is rather simple to follow. However, as with every overclocking process, there is always risk involved. Please ensure that you read the whole guide and leave some feedback for the dev.
Overclocking your HP Touchpad
- Relatively safe to do
- No noticeable effect on battery (stock usually pulls 550mah and 1.5ghz is pulling like 565mah.
- Touchpad becomes incredibly fast, fluid, responsive, and is a joy to use
- No heat created
- Overclocks both cores
- Feels like you have next generation hardware after the overclock
- Smooth like butter
You can find more information in the original thread.
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