Back in the day, webOS was lauded as a potential contender against the first-gen iPhone’s iOS in its early iterations. But the platform had stagnated, and Android fast became the dominant platform in the smartphone industry. HP — which acquired webOS when it bought Palm — has since spun off its webOS division, and the project is in development and marketing limbo.
Independent developers are still working to port webOS on a variety of Android devices, which include the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Barnes & Noble Nook Color. If this is the kind of news that interests you, you might be happy to know that webOS is now being ported to the Google Nexus 7.
The port is still in alpha stages, which means it’s not a usable operating system unless you’re a developer or hacker. More specifically, hardware acceleration does not work yet, which means the system will be laggy. Still, the alpha port has the following working functionalities: Wi-Fi, brightness settings, gestures, and even features the webOS keyboard.
The port uses Open webOS, which means the developers won’t have to work from scratch in developing drivers for Android smartphones and tablets. This particular port uses work by the LibHybris group, as well as inputs from developers involved in Merprojects, FreeSmartphone and SHR project.
The port is untethered, which means you can run webOS on your Nexus 7 even without the device tethered to a computer. Booting up is tethered, though, which means you will have to boot up webOS via desktop computer. Check out the demo video below.
Is webOS on the Nexus 7 something to get excited about? Perhaps this would be the case for die-hard Palm and webOS aficionados, but maybe not such a big deal for other Android fans. But given the popularity of the Nexus 7, being able to run webOS on the 7-incher might just help popularize the platform a bit more, at least to tweakers and users willing to experiment.
Is webOS something worth exploring? Or should we just leave the Nexus 7 be with its stock Jelly Bean and Google’s promise of timely updates?