Open webOS cuts off support for HP TouchPad

The upcoming release of Open webOS won’t support existing devices, including the HP TouchPad.

Open webOS cuts off support for HP TouchPad

WebOS is the operating system HP inherited when it acquired Palm in 2010, and it runs on the company’s now-discontinued TouchPad tablet and Palm Pre 3 and Veer smartphones. HP said it would release the mobile OS to the open source community after it killed off the devices, but it has now revealed it won’t be backwards compatible.

Open webOS is being developed by HP employees, but there’s also a Community Edition of webOS, released in June and developed by HP staff alongside external open source developers. It will continue to support legacy devices.

The announcement was made on the open source project’s blog, in a post detailing the developers’ progress as they move towards a September release.

“For Open webOS we are aiming for support on future hardware platforms where SoCs support Linux 3.3+ kernel and where open source replacements for proprietary components are integrated,” the developers said. “Existing devices cannot be supported because of those many proprietary components, including graphics, networking and lack of drivers for a modern kernel.”

People love webOS, but they can only put up with being slighted for so long

The news will come as a blow to the small but loyal base of consumers who snapped up a TouchPad in HP’s fire sale last August, and who have stuck with the platform.

“We are not at all thrilled with this decision,” said a response on community site webOS Nation. “Yet again, HP’s made the decision to neglect… a small but loyal customer base in favour of pursuing bigger dreams.”

“We understand that the resources available to the Open webOS team are limited… but this pattern of dumping on those who have stuck with the platform isn’t the makings for continuing loyalty. People love webOS, but they can only put up with being slighted for so long.”

Open webOS progress

Open webOS is approaching a beta release, and now includes the System Manager and core applications such as Email, Calendar, Contacts, Memos, Accounts, Clock and Calculator.

An increasing number of Android tablets and smartphones support Linux Kernel 3.3 and above, and HP CEO Meg Whitman hinted back in December 2011 that there could be a successor to the TouchPad in 2013, but whether that happens or not it looks likely that Windows 8 will be HP’s primary tablet focus.

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