As you can see from the internal email sent to HP employees by CEO Meg Whitman below (via TechCrunch), webOS is officially alive and well and on its way to open source land. Last we heard HP was soon going to come to a solid decision on the fate of webOS and rumors started flying about  the company even being open to Android. However, today’s confirmation from Whitman most likely means the company hopes webOS will be picked up by vendors looking for an alternative to Google’s OS. There’s no mention of new hardware in the letter, but The Verge sat down with Whitman and board member Marc Andreessen who say there will indeed be new HP webOS tablets by 2013:

Will HP be creating any new webOS hardware?

The answer to that is yes but what I can’t tell you is whether that will be in 2012 or not. But we will use webOS in new hardware, but it’s just going to take us a little longer to reorganize the team in a quite different direction than we’ve been taking it in the past.

Are we talking printers? Or tablets and phones?

In the near term what I would imagine – and this could change, in full disclosure – is I would think tablets, I do not believe we will be in the smartphone business again.

Here’s Whitman’s full letter to HP Employees:

From: CEO – Meg Whitman
Sent: Friday, December 09, 2011 2:03 PM
Subject: webOS to be contributed to the open source community

Meg Whitman
CEO

TO/ All Employees

SUBJECT/ webOS to be contributed to the open source community

Today, we announced that HP will contribute our webOS software to the open source community and support its development going forward. We believe that this is the best way to ensure the benefits of webOS are accessible to the largest possible ecosystem.

Since we announced the discontinuation of our webOS devices last August, the executive team has been working to determine the best path forward for this highly respected software. We looked at all the options in the market today and we see a clear need for a platform that is both open and has a single integrated stack.

webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected, and scalable. By providing webOS to the open source community and other hardware vendors we have the potential to fundamentally change the landscape.

HP engineers, partners, other developers and hardware manufacturers will be able to contribute to the development of webOS. Together, we have an opportunity to make it the foundation of a new generation of devices, applications and services to address the rapidly evolving demands of both consumers and enterprises.

I would like to thank the webOS team for continuing your efforts under very difficult circumstances during these last couple of months. Your dedication is very much appreciated.

This is a very positive move for the development of our people, our software and HP overall.

We strongly believe that the best days for webOS are still ahead.

Best,

Meg

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