HP has announced that its mobile operating system, webOS, is to be made available to external developers under an open source license.
The company said that it will continue to be an "active participant and investor" in the operating system, which it bought as part of its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in 2010. HP says it will consult with the developer commuinty to decide exactly how to make the code base available.
In a statement, HP CEO Meg Whitman said that webOS will provide a platform for "next generation applications". "WebOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable," she said.
The move means that the other mobile OS manufacturers – Google, Apple and Microsoft – may be able to incorporate elements of webOS into their products without facing the kind of legal wrangling that currently surrounds mobile hardware.
HP has said that it will not be making any webOS-based devices in the near future, but is planning to release two tablets based Microsoft’s Windows 8 next year.