The biggest stumbling block for webOS, apart from mismanagement on the part of HP, has always been the relative lack of apps. Sure, there are standards there and the most basic needs are covered, but the "long tail" of apps, those apps that aren't the nine or ten that everybody's downloaded, that's where webOS has struggled for the whole time it's been around. The app situation isn't entirely responsible for the predicament webOS is in today, but it certainly played a big part in the vicious cycle (despite our protestations that Palm and HP do something about it).
Enter OpenMobile with a solution that aims to work around this problem by drafting Android into the webOS ecosystem. OpenMobile was showing off their Android Compatibility Layer product at CES, which grafts Android as a runtime into webOS, allowing users to run Android apps in webOS, complete with cards, notifications, and all that jazz.
At the time, the folks at OpenMobile had made the ACL work on Meego and webOS, but at the time they weren't involved with HP. Since then things have been pretty quiet on the OpenMobile front, but webOS Nation forum member Zukny reached out to OpenMobile to see if he could find out more information. Unexpectedly he got a call back from OpenMobile CEO Bob Angelo, who informed him that not only is HP interested in getting the OpenMobile ACL onto the HP TouchPad and Open webOS, the project has high-level support within the webOS organization.
Additionally, though OpenMobile's original business plan was to work with HP and other manufacturers to integrate the ACL into the product before it shipped, they've changed gears with webOS for obvious reasons and are exploring offering the ACL as a package you'll be able to purchase at what they're expecting to be a relatively low price point - though we're sure plenty of you would pay good money for access to a couple hundred thousand more apps over the couple thousand currently available to TouchPad owners.
We're pleased to hear that OpenMobile is encouraged by the enthusiasm the webOS community has expressed for their efforts and hope it won't be long before we're running Android apps without running Android.
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