Google's working on a stock Android install for Sony, could they be charting a path for Open webOS? | webOS Nation
 
 

Google's working on a stock Android install for Sony, could they be charting a path for Open webOS? 15

by Derek Kessler Tue, 04 Sep 2012 9:21 pm EDT

Google's working on a stock Android install for Sony, could this be a path for O

Google's Android software is available on quite literally hundreds of devices. But on all but a select few it's been tinkered with at a bare minimum (or wholesale overhauled), moving it away from a 'true' Android experience. In fact, the number of 'Google' devices, i.e. those with unadulterated Android installed out of the box, can be counted on two hands. most of those are Google-directed Nexus devices. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with the modifications made by Samsung, HTC, Sony, Amazon, and everybody else toying with Android, but there's a contingent of people that want to be able to install stock Android on their device without the interference of others.

Part of the code to make that possible has always been available as part of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Anybody can download that and do with it as they please, and installing it on a device should yield a 'pure' Android experience. So long as you're okay with probably not having access to a number of vital components with drivers that aren't open source and thus aren't part of AOSP. That hasn't stopped groups like CyanogenMod from repurposing the open source code of AOSP, including the project to install Android on the TouchPad.

Google's head of the AOSP, Jean-Baptiste Queru, isn't content with that, and wants to bring the pure, unadulterated Android experience to more devices. His first experimental target: the Sony Xperia S. Despite Sony's history of siloing themselves off in proprietary technologies (MiniDisc and Memory Stick, anyone?), they've recently come to terms with being more open and have become more supportive of open source development. So it should come as no surprise that a few weeks after Queru started his quest to bring AOSP to the Xperia S, Sony's gone ahead and made available the binaries for the device. While such code won't be useful to the average homebrew ROM cooker, they should prove quite useful to the Xperia S AOSP project.

We've said before that the biggest technical hurdle facing the adoption of Open webOS on the vast majority of devices is the lack of open source supporting software like the drivers and whatnot in the Xperia S binaries. With Google publicly pursuing getting stock Android onto at least one non-Nexus device, we have to wonder if this approach might be a useful one for HP and Open webOS.

As of right now there are two forms of Open webOS, both in beta: one for Linux desktop installations, and another for embedded devices. The Linux version isn't exactly a cakewalk to install outside of the instructions provided by HP, so throwing it on that tablet you have sitting around isn't a simple task. And while the OpenEmbedded-enabled version of Open webOS is technically installable on any number of theoretical devices, it's missing a fairly major component: a user interface.

But let's assume that HP's plans involve setting up Open webOS to run on more devices than just a 32-bit install of Linux Ubuntu, because that's simply not going to be useful to most people. In fact, we have to question whether it'd really be useful to any but a select handful. But thanks to a distinct lack of open source drivers for many things, there aren't a whole lot of options for Open webOS. That is, unless a company such a Sony is willing to step up as they have with the Android Open Source Project and pitch in useful code to make exciting things happen.

While there's the obvious advantage to webOS enthusiasts such as ourselves who strongly desire to run webOS on new hardware, there's an advantage for the assisting device manufacturer as well. We're not talking about just goodwill here, of which there'd be plenty from a yearning-to-offer-goodwill webOS community. No, there's the advantage that said manufacturer would have an additional operating system in their quiver should they want to take the webOS route, and they'd have let the community do most of the work for them.

15 Comments

this would be great for Open webOS . I'd LOVE to have it on my Kindle Fire :)

So I was messing around with my Pre- today just for kicks. As much as I like Android and all it's capabilities, there is just something special about webOS. I would love to have webOS's UI on my Epic Touch. The most addicting part about webOS has got to be the gesture area and multitasking cards. So fluid and intuitive. If someone were to hire me as an assassin for Leo Apotheker, I just might take them up on that offer. He's an idiot!

I agree, every time I boot Android on my Touchpad I try to use gesture swipes, yet it never works :'(

Oh yeah, I was going to say, Sony is probably working with Google on this so they can gain more popularity with the Android crowd which would bring in more revenue. It wouldn't make sense to risk that relationship just to give Open WebOS a chance.

But aren't we still in the same position where Android drivers are for the wrong linux kernel.

Right!

"While there's the obvious advantage to webOS enthusiasts such as ourselves who strongly desire to run webOS on new hardware, there's an advantage for the assisting device manufacturer as well. We're not talking about just goodwill here, of which there'd be plenty from a yearning-to-offer-goodwill webOS community. No, there's the advantage that said manufacturer would have an additional operating system in their quiver should they want to take the webOS route, and they'd have let the community do most of the work for them."

Meanwhile back on planet earth...

Following the various International legal cases (Apple v Samsung), anything of this nature (as per benthe1's posts) may generate the right kind of interest. Software (WebOS) is beginning to reach its distribution & ready to 'find its way in'! Apparently, the universally-accepted ENYO is making its way in multi-platform OS.

Oh man...

After HP bought Palm we waited for new AWESOME hardware.

  • We got the Pre2
  • The Pre3, TouchPad and Veer were announced

Then the waited to see if Sprint was getting the Pre3.
Derek wrote so many articles on that it drove us crazy not to know.

Then Apothecalypse happened and we waited to see what was going to be done with webOS.
It was going open source.

Now that the source code is becoming available we are now waiting to see who picks up webOS and makes our highly over due AWESOME new devices.

Sad true story bro :/

I think the x86 compilation of WebOS for desktop is a case study for their platform. It's purpose is purely that it exists, functions, and can run the core apps. If apps operate as intended unmodified running on top of ubuntu just like they should on a device, mission accomplished. Their abstraction layers and web engine are successful and will provide a consistent programming environment across any manner of devices with different underlying hardwares, including processors and wildly different input devices. Not to mention not having to load your apps into an emulator to run them (well, has anyone gotten an app to run under the PC port yet? )

The OpenWebOS build was painless, by the way. It took about 4 hours, but there were no difficulties on my 7 year old laptop.

When thinking about Android I do cring and even kind of shake a little when thinking of being forced on some Samsung phone that is glitchy as hell.

But when it comes to the Sony tablets and the Phones I have to put up with the sick feeling of an android os and all the spy crap that it is. The latest Sony Phone really is a beatutiful piece of electronics. Very impressed and it would be GREAT to see webOS go onto the Sony Products.

Sonys business is suffering just like most everyone else and its great to see them open up some. webOS on the latest Sony phone would be a great alternative to the Blackberry if you didnt want to roll with Blackberry for some reason.

I have to say -even though I don't personally like Xperia- webOS will look great on a 4.X display.
Being said that, to have Open webOS out in the wild will be great for this -the BEST I may say- community, in which webOS could friendly and lovingly mature on -Homebrew crew, that is!-. But for the little I know, for Open webOS to be consider seriously for any of this mobile tech companies (Sony, HTC, LG or whatever) I think it is a MUST to have a reliable ACL. That would mean that costumers will have plenty of apps available only missing a great piece of hardware to run it on. I mean, webOS has been praised by anyone that had a chance to even see it (be that Steve Jobs (RIP) for example) but it lack of apps counterattack its clean_fresh_unique_appealing looks and feel not to say its great multitasking experience along with some awesome features. With no (well, little) apps, the few customer got fewer; hence no hardware company would produce something that wouldn't sell much. But with the apps available (+500,000 I think), old, new and existent webOS user would jump right back (or give it a try) to the train.
Please, whoever got the chance, let the ACL developer group to continue. Maybe they'll get together with Phoenix. That would be a very symbiotic/successful relationship.
All this without prejudice of better knowledge on your behalf.

Just got an Xperia S as a gift, I really tried to understand this, but I am a doctor so my knowledge in this is minimal.
I own and still use a Pre 2 wich I love, mostly WEBOS.. so does this article mean I can get open webos on the xperia S (which is by the way still in its box)

I barely obtained my Palm Pre Plus and webOS is quite amazing! I wish someone would have told me sooner! I'm considering getting the HP Pré 3, although webOS on new hardware, like Sony, would be nice as well. I'm glad my iPhone 4S broke...

Wow..this is great.. Sony is best know also for its good quality and now they're installing Android,that's a good news..
flexispy