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New webOS tablets incoming as OS goes open source

There's life in webOS yet -- HP promises it will make more devices for the troubled operating system, with it going open source like Android.

To say HP's webOS has had a chequered history would be the grandpa of all understatements. But months after it killed off the TouchPad and Pre 3, HP has promised it will release new webOS tablets, with the software going open source, just like Google's Android. So there's life in the old dog yet.

Though if you're looking out for a new webOS device, you may be in for a bit of a wait. HP's CEO Meg Whitman told The Verge that the devices may take a while.

Asked if HP will make new webOS devices, she said, "The answer to that is yes, but what I can't tell you is whether that will be in 2012 or not. But we will use webOS in new hardware, but it's just going to take us a little longer to reorganise the team in a quite different direction than we've been taking it in the past."

Asked what kind of devices, she said, "In the near term what I would imagine -- and this could change, in full disclosure -- is I would think tablets, I do not believe we will be in the smart phone business again."

She said webOS was "going to an open system", with HP continuing to invest in it, much like Google does with its Android operating system. The decision "seemed to be the one that made the most sense for the industry, for the community, for the developer community."

Whitman wouldn't be drawn on any more details on the potential tablets, but did say the company would run it like a start-up, saying it was a "four- or five-year timeframe".

In August HP ditched the TouchPad tablet and Pre range of smart phones, both of which ran webOS. The TouchPad's price dropped to just £90, prompting a stampede of bargain hunters. Then there was speculation HP would sell off the OS, with Samsung listed as a potential buyer. Clearly no buyer could be found, and it remains to be seen exactly how much money HP is willing to invest.

Are you looking forward to a new webOS tablet? Or should HP leave the OS to rest in peace? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.