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PreCentral: WebOS Ports gets Open webOS up and running on the Google Nexus 7 [video]


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WebOS Ports gets Open webOS up and running on the Google Nexus 7

As if the wasn't enough, has announced a new porting project: Open webOS on the Google Nexus 7. The built by Asus was the premiere launch devices for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and thanks to , it is the perfect fit for WebOS Ports's next porting adventure.

Seeing how much we loved the small seven-inch TouchPad Go, it's no surprise that the equally small Nexus 7 tablet was on the radar of WebOS Ports. Though larger, the 1280x800 screen on the Nexus 7 is close enough in pixel dimensions to , so a lot of the work put into the smartphone project could be easily translated to the Nexus 7.

How easy? This work was led by WebOS Ports's over the course of about a week while he was on winter break from college. The port was accomplished with the Galaxy Nexus project in conjunction with , created by (an engineer at , though he also leads , which grew out of Sailfish ancestors Maemo and Meego), a library that allows for "bionic-based [Android] hardware adaptations in glibc systems", in essence making it easier to translate between the designed-for-Android hardware and like the . This means that with LibHybris the WebOS Ports team won't have to write drivers from scratch for different Android-based devices they might wish to attack. In addition to LibHybris, the Nexus 7 leverages the work of those involved in Merproject, , and .

A video of the port in action is after the break, and as an early alpha we're rather impressed. Open webOS on the Nexus 7 runs generally smoothly (there's some intermittent and infrequent lag, which isn't anything too surprising at this stage) and has improved considerably from our last look at Open webOS on the Galaxy Nexus. In addition there's now an -based Settings app that allows you to toy with things like the Wi-Fi and brightness settings and the new app (also Enyo 2 based). The port also supports the classic webOS tablet keyboard, the , and forward-swipe-driven screen rotation. Essentially, it's like webOS on the TouchPad Go, except on the slimmer, lighter, faster, newer Nexus 7 and more open source-y.

Oh, and did we mention that it runs untethered now? Yeah, it does that. Being able to use Open webOS on the device without being is a big deal, and we're really quite psyched to see that happen. You still have to boot from a desktop, but after that you can unplug the cable and get on with the webOSing.

The Nexus 7 Open webOS port is still in its early stages, but thanks to the work done on the Galaxy Nexus port it's come a long way in a relatively short time. We're looking forward to what's coming next.

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