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What Does WebOS Mean?

WebOS is a Linux-based proprietary mobile operating system. This mobile OS runs on devices like Palm Pre phones, Palm Pixi phones and the HP Veer.


Originally designed for Palm, and generally written as “webOS,” it is now currently owned by Hewlett-Packard Co. after it acquired Palm in 2010. As of August 2011, Hewlett Packard announced it would no longer be manufacturing webOS hardware but would look into options for licensing to other manufacturers.

Techopedia Explains WebOS

Like most modern mobile operating systems, WebOS is already designed for smartphones and can respond to touch screen events and multitouch gestures. webOS is best known for its ability to integrate seamlessly with Web 2.0 technologies with the Synergy feature, which allows users to sign in to online accounts (like Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft Exchange and LinkedIn), from which the application gathers information to populate the device.

WebOS also supports multitasking. For example, when an email notification pops up while you’re playing a game, you can tap on the notification to view the message. The game then shifts to pause mode. When you’re done reading, you can return to the game where you left off.

There are two ways of developing WebOS applications:

  1. By using JavaScript, HTML and CSS. This requires the software development kit, which can be installed on a computer running OS X, Windows or Ubuntu.
  2. By using C or C++., This requires the platform development kit, which can only run on Windows and Mac computers.

Developers will also need Oracle’s VirtualBox to emulate the webOS environment on the desktop. Although webOS apps can be developed at the command line, the preferred method is by using an integreated development enivronment such as Eclipse.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.