webOS is a Linux based mobile operating system, developed by Palm, and later taken over by Hewlett-Packard (HP). HP revealed its intention to make webOS available under an open source license, and has since then offered a beta release that makes available fifty-four webOS components in open source. This availability will enable developers to apply webOS towards greater innovations.
A group of hacker-developers, working under the banner Phoenix International Communications, has taken on the challenge of turning Open webOS into an app that runs on Android OS, allowing smartphone users to alternate between two OSs in a single device. With many organizations now supporting a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) environment, the ability to switch over to a different OS easily and seamlessly will allow employees to affect a clear segregation between personal use and work related data, and thereby offer a solution to security threats, and other issues related to using personal smartphones for work.
The Phoenix group now claim success in their endeavour, and has posted a YouTube video to substantiate their claims. The video shows the Open webOS installed and working on Samsung’s Nexus S 4G phone with the user switching over from Android OS to webOS without rebooting the system or switching off the phone.
The OS remains stable, but the developers have a long way to go. As of now, Open WebOS as an Android app is painfully slow and severely degrades finger tracking. Only blank cards are displayed in the card interface, and app data is yet to find a way into the interface. Moreover, a major technical limitation still exists in that it is still not possible to launch webOS from the device, and has to be booted via commands from the terminal instead.
The Phoenix group, even as they refine Open webOS as an Android app further, is already looking beyond this, and plans to create and market its own webOS hardware.