Device operating systems

OS Watch: HP Unit Resurrects WebOS

HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ)'s webOS is getting another chance at life, as the company hopes rebranding the operating system as a "startup" under the name Gram will help revive the brand. (See HP Sets webOS Free.)

In an internal memo this week, HP SVP Martin Risau wrote, "We are no longer a consumer hardware brand, we are a different company with a focus on software, User Experience, Cloud, engineering and partnering. This change in identity will take some getting used to and that’s normal."

Gram will be run as a wholly owned HP subsidiary and is recruiting talent to help restart the process of building devices to feature the OS.

In other mobile OS news:

  • Jolla recruits in Finland: Jolla, the startup tasked with reviving the MeeGo OS, is going on a hiring spree in Finland. The company's looking to add 50 Finnish employees to its current staff of 50 mostly ex-Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) people by the end of the year, when it plans to launch a MeeGo smartphone. CEO Jussi Hurmola tells ZDNet that the user interface is already ready to go for the new OS, but he wouldn't delve into any details about the software or Jolla's upcoming launch. (See Nokia Refugees Revive MeeGo and One Giant Leap for MeeGo .)

  • Google updates Android maps: Yet another area where Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) are duking it out is on maps, and Google's stepping up its game here -- but only for Android smartphones. The software giant announced public transportation-related updates to Google Maps this week that only Android devices would receive. The move comes after Apple said it would replace Google Maps on iOS 6 with its own mapping service, potentially causing a lot of harm to Google's core service. Nokia, too, is looking to its mapping business to help it recover in the mobile market. (See Nokia Puts Itself on the Map and Battle of the 3-D Mobile Maps.)

  • Nokia and Microsoft set the date: Nokia and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) have announced an event for Sept. 5 for a not-so-mysterious unveiling of the pair's first Windows 8-based Nokia smartphone. CNET expects their first handset to look a lot like the Lumia 900 physically but to feature a micro-SD slot, HD display, Near-Field Communications (NFC), voice command and Skype integration. Nokia VP Chris Weber has already put Samsung Corp. on notice, Tweeting, "Samsung take note, next generation Lumia coming soon." (See Euronews: Nokia Won't Waver on Windows and Microsoft Sets a Windows 8 Timeline.)

  • RIM's new resolutions: BlackBerry likely has a few resolutions of its own for its BlackBerry business, but it's also committed to resolutions for the displays on its upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphones. With the exception of its first full-touchscreen phone, all future touchscreen devices will have 16:9 1280×720 resolution, while keyboard phones will have a 720p HD screen at a 720×720 resolution. Having a standard for its devices' screens will make it easier for developers to build apps for the smarpthones. (See RIM Hopes BB10 Roadshow Will Wow Carriers .)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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