(Reuters) - Hewlett Packard has decided to open its webOS mobile operating system to developers and companies, potentially taking on Google's free Android platform that is popular with handset makers.
HP, which acquired webOS in a $1.2 billion purchase of Palm in 2010, had been trying to figure out how to recoup its investment after a failed foray into the smartphone and tablet market.
The technology giant said on Friday it will make webOS available under an open source licensing agreement but did not detail the terms of the licensing deal it plans to offer.
The future of webOS had been in limbo since August after HP killed its flagship webOS-based TouchPad tablet following poor sales.
While Google has the world's most-used mobile system with over 550,000 devices activated every day, HP's webOS could be an alternative to companies who are apprehensive that the web search giant may compete with them directly in the smartphone handset market through its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility.
HP had been considering a number of options for webOS, including a sale.
(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)