Open source not enough to save WebOS

Open sourcing WebOS is not enough to save it, a leading analyst has warned.

According to Melissa Chau, research manager for client devices at IDC Asia-Pacific, even prior to the open source announcement by HP, WebOS was about as acceptable as trimming your pubic hair in public.

Even handed over to the open saucers to play with, it is about as likely to dominate the market in the future as Britain will succeed outside the EU. Chau told ZDNet that it is possible that a third major mobile OS may emerge, after Apple iOS and Google Android, but WebOS’ current market share is “too far down” to gain traction.

The bronze medal will probably go to Research in Motion’s Blackberry OS or Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, she said.

It was unlikely WebOS would overtake Windows Phone 7 because of the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft.

She said there was currently a big fight for developers among mobile OS ecosystems. WebOS faces a “chicken and egg” problem. Hardware vendors will not build stuff when there is too little software, and software writers will not write code when there is no hardware.

In short HP’s WebOS is the Norwegian Blue of the mobile software world.

It was pretty dumb for HP to have bought it in the first place, but once stuck with it, it could have done a lot more than it did. Now it will be forgotten .