HP officials have said that the company’s webOS operating system which runs on phones and tablets will also be available for HP desktop and laptop computers, allowing you to run webOS apps on nearly any HP device in the future. This week HP’s Palm chief Jon Rubinstein was a guest on The Engadget Show, and he explained a little more clearly what that means.
The long and short of it is that at launch webOS will run inside a window on HP computers running Microsoft Windows. The OS won’t replace Windows, and it won’t be a dual boot option. You’ll be able to run webOS apps without leaving Windows. Unfortunately, it also sounds like those apps will be stuck within some sort of a webOS program window… they won’t necessarily interact with other apps on your desktop. That means you won’t be able to search your Outlook calendar and contacts using webOS search, for instance.
PreCentral also suggests that it sounds like native webOS apps built using the plug-in development kit (PDK) might not be able to run on Windows, since the idea for now is to support apps built using HTML5 and other web-based technologies. Essentially, it seems the webOS window on PCs will be sort of a specialized web browser designed to run webOS apps.
This is pretty much what I had expected… but it would be nice if HP can develop a runtime that lets users install and run webOS apps as easily as native Windows apps, sort of the way that Adobe AIR enables Flash-based apps to run as desktop apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.