Operating Systems

BlackBerry 10 Gets Launch Date

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Research in Motion (RIM) announces the date for the global BlackBerry 10 launch-- January 30 2012, with the date marking the launch of the new BlackBerry platform and 2 new BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

Blackberry 10BlackBerry 10 is the last great hope for a RIM struggling against the iPhone and Android devices. The company promises "a truly unique mobile computing experience" through BlackBerry Flow, a system allowing easy navigation between apps and a "hub" containing messages, notifications, feeds and events.

RIM also says the platform has FIPS 140-2 certification, making it suitable for government deployments.

January 30 will also see the launch of the 1st BlackBerry 10 devices-- a full touchscreen device (probably similar, if not identical, to the RIM test unit) and one more in line with the current BlackBerry Bold series.

Go BlackBerry 10 Launch Event to be Held on January 30 2012

webOS is Dead, Long Live Gram

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It looks like HP did not give up on the mobile dream-- an internal email from senior HP VP Martin Risau obtained by webOS Nation details how the webOS Global Business Unit (aka Palm) is turning into internal startup "Gram."

gram“We are no longer a consumer hardware brand," Risau writes. "We are a different company with a focus on software, user experience, cloud, engineering and partnering.” That rules out HP making mobile devices, then. 

HP donated the webOS source code to the open source community back in December 2011, but kept the webOS GBU as a business unit. However Gram is a quasi-independent entity under the larger HP umbrella... and purse strings. 

Risau gives no details on what Gram will work on (the company is "in stealth mode") but apparently the company not only has webOS, but also Enyo development tools and the separate webOS group cloud services team. It is also looking for new hires. 

Is HP taking a second stab at taking on the mobile market after failing to make the initial Windows RT OEM partner list? Or will Gram createl something more interesting than a mere iOS/Android/Win RT rival? 

Go webOS GBU to Become Quasi-Independent Cloud and UX Company (webOS Nation)

Google Gets webOS Enyo Team

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According to the Verge the HP webOS team is now smaller-- the team working on Enyo (the webOS HTML5-based application framework) just left the company in favour of working with Google. 

EnyoApparently the Enyo engineering core (6 people in all, including project lead Matt McNulty) are to start working at Google from next month. What will they do? No one knows as yet, although one can easily assume the ex-HP group will join the Android team. 

After all, current Android design chief Matias Duarte is ex-Palm-- he worked on webOS until HP bought Palm back in 2010. 

The Chrome (either web browser or OS) team is also an option, seeing how Google invests heavily in HTML5 apps and development. 

What will happen to the now open source webOS? An HP statement simply says "the Open webOS project is on schedule and we remain committed to the roadmap announced in January."

Go HP's Core webOS Enyo Team Going to Google (The Verge)

Android Strategy Set for Change

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The Wall Street Journal reports Google will tighten control on Android OS-- providing a number of mobile vendors with early access to the latest Android builds and Nexus branding. 

Android fragmentationThis should result in the launch of a number of Nexus-branded smartphones later his year, all carrying Android 5.0 (code-named Jelly Bean).

Google already sells Galaxy Nexus smartphones (running Android 4.0) oon the Google Play online store. The WSJ suggests Google will expand retail operations further, selling Nexus phones from multiple vendors on the online and "potentially through some retailers." 

Current Android partners include Motorola, Samsung, Sony, HTC and Asus. The WSJ says Asus is also working on a co-branded Nexus tablet with Google.

The approach should reduce Android OS fragmentation, since the main vendors will be selling a flagship Android handset running the same version of the OS. 

The Android market incredibly fragmented-- according to developer OpenSignalMaps, Android 2.3 is the dominant Android version (55.4% share) among 61389 OSM app users. Android 2.2 follows (20.5%) with other, mostly older versions. Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) only has 8.5% share since its November 2011 launch.

Go Google Shifts Tack on Android (WSJ.com)

Go The Many Faces of a Little Green Robot (OpenSignalMaps)

HP (Finally) Decides on webOS' Fate

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HP finally answers the question on what will happen to webOS-- the company will neither sell nor discontinue the OS, but will instead "contribute" it to the open source community.

webOS Open Source“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” CEO Meg Whitman says. “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”

The announcement comes after months of speculation on how HP was going to sell webOS to anyone from Amazon to RIM and even Oracle-- but it appears HP remained empty-handed after trying to find a buyer.

So it did the second-best thing-- going to the charity shop instead of the dumpster.

HP mentions no future hardware plans so the TouchPad will probably remain the last HP-branded webOS device, at least for a while.

webOS has something of a rocky history-- from the $1.2BN Palm purchase in 2010 to HP spending $1.66BN to kill off Palm and webOS after ex-CEO Leo Apotheker announced the now-scrapped Garage Sale plans.

A bit of a sorry finale (one ending with not a bang, but a whimper) for once promising software, unless the open source community manages to make something great with it.

Go HP to Contribute webOS to Open Source