Hackers make headway porting webOS to Android

A group of developers hoping to turn Open webOS into an Android app recently claimed it is getting closer to achieving its goal. Phoenix International Communications, made up of volunteer hackers, recently posted a video to YouTube showing a “pre-alpha” version of webOS running on a Samsung Nexus S 4G.

In the video, you can see the Samsung handset switching from Android to webOS without the need to reboot the system. Once in webOS, the system appears stable, but it is incredibly slow; the finger tracking is terrible, and the card interface can only display blank cards without any app data. The group’s version of webOS also can't yet be launched from the device and boots via terminal commands instead.

Nevertheless, the fact that the group has webOS running at all is a big first step. As recently as October, the group could only get to the webOS lock screen before the system would crash, according to webOS Nation.

Phoenix International Communications says the goal of the project is to allow people to quickly switch between Android and webOS on the same device. The end product, depending on the app's performance and security features, could be an easy solution for people looking to create a firewall between work and personal data on the same device.

Other projects are also aiming to port webOS to Android, such as webOS ports, but these groups typically want to create a version of webOS that runs as a dual-boot solution alongside Android.

Phoenix International Communications’ webOS efforts are based on Hewlett Packard's Open webOS initiative to turn webOS into an open source project. HP started publishing webOS code for developers to download and use in September.

The group says the webOS on Android app is an early step in its much loftier goal of creating and marketing its own webOS hardware.

Here's a look at open webOS on a Nexus S 4G:

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