Palm's fallen mobile operating system webOS still manages to make headlines even three years after its new owner, HP laid it to rest. Once viewed as a stronger challenger to Apple, Inc. (AAPL) in the premium smartphone space than Google Android, the OS is today finding new life thanks to several projects, one of which targets mobile devices.
Official support from HP for the now-defunct catalog of webOS devices ended in Jan. 2012 with the release of webOS 3.0.5. Now at last there's some fresh material for webOS die-hards, thanks to the Open webOS Project.
At its core webOS was somewhat similar to Android, using many open source software components and an Android kernel. As a result it's been fairly easy for the project to freshen the core software.
Started in early 2012, the open webOS project quietly went through several test builds before launching Open webOS 1.0 in Sept. 2012. In Jan. 2013, a build of OWOS 1.0 launched as an aftermarket ROM for the Nexus 7, an Android device. Since then much of the work has been put towards updating this codebase and porting it to new mobile devices.
The fruits of that labor were finally shown this week by WebOS Ports, a companion group of the Open WebOS project. The group this week announced the launch of LuneOS -- a freshened version of webOS. LuneOS is based on the latest open source Linux web/GUI framework packages including QT 5.2, QML, and WebKit 2.
The just released launch build of LuneOS is available for the Nexus 4 and HP TouchPad. The Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 (2012 Wi-Fi-edition) are also supported, but will not receive ongoing support with future releases.