Open webOS booted onto Nook Color and Samsung Series 7 Slate, gets live USB distro [video x2]
Just when you thought things couldn't get any crazier for Open webOS, they have. Industrious developers have already booted the open source successor to webOS onto the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Asus Transformer Prime, and are working on getting it running on top of Android. The march onward and outward continues, with two new tablets getting demonstration builds of Open webOS and a new distribution meant to be booted off of an external disc.
First up, lets take a look at those tablets getting a new welcoming into the Open webOS fold. We'll go in title order and start with the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, which got a demonstration courtesy of Ping-Hsun Chen of Taiwan. He managed to get Open webOS booting on the book seller's first-generation Android tablet, and much as with other builds there's still work to be done as far as getting it running up to speed is concerned. But it's a start, and the Nook Color is certainly an affordable alternative for those looking to jump into the Open webOS tablet game.
Though judging by the speed - Ping-Hsun's build of for the Nook Color is currently lacking hardware graphics acceleration, and thus quite lagging - it might be a while before anybody's going to want to jump in for purposes other than tinkering. Interestingly, the Nook Color port seems to be of the desktop edition, and leverages the already-existing Ubuntu port for the tablet instead of the processor-agnostic OpenEmbedded version of Open webOS.
Next up in the Open webOS tablet show is the Samsung Series 7 Slate. This build comes courtesy of WebOS Ports and was shown off by HP's Roy Sutton at the Open webOS Hackathon today in Toronto and captured by webOS onTap. It's booting off of an attached flash drive, and like the Nook Color above is currently lacking hardware graphics acceleration (and a good amount of optimizing), but it generally works. This build does appear to be based off of Open webOS OE instead of the Ubuntu desktop build.
For those not familiar, the Series 7 Slate is actually a Windows 7 device, with an Intel x86 processor (Core i5 or i7, depending on the configuration) and an 11.6-inch screen (ti's the same 768 pixels tall as the TouchPad, so the UI fits nicely in the wider 1366 pixels across). Yes, this is Open webOS OE on an Intel-powered tablet. Sutton did note that Open webOS will run faster on the Series 7 Slate once it's optimized and booting off of the internal SSD instead of the USB stick, and right now it's still in an early alpha state - like just about every other Open webOS project at this point.
There's one more interesting project that came to light recently, and that's a 'live' distribution of Open webOS. Brought to us by the same Pinh-Hsun responsible for the Nook Color port, the 122MB ISO is meant to be loaded onto a CD or flash drive so you can carry around and boot your own personal copy of the Open webOS desktop build. It's built off of Ubuntu 12.04, but skips the Ubuntu user interface in favor of the tried-and-true webOS cards interface. In theory (though testing is still needed), one could load Open webOS as a live build onto a flash drive and boot it onto just about any computer you can stick it into, and when you're done just unplug and walk away.
So that's two new tablets and a portable desktop build for your traveling adventures. Full steam ahead, webOS Nation!