HP is to hand over the WebOS platform to the open source community in a bid to "significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices".

The tech firm said it will make the underlying code of the operating system available under an open source licence, so developers and other interested parties can help develop improvements and new versions.

"WebOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable," said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer.

"By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices."

The future of the operating system, which HP acquired from Palm in 2010 for $1.2bn, looked shaky after the tech giant revealed in August its plans to discontinue the HP TouchPad, it's first tablet PC to run the operating system.

Last week, Whitman told French newspaper Le Figaro, deciding the fate of WebOS was “not an easy decision, because we have a team of 600 people which is in limbo. We need to have another operating system".

HP also revealed it plans to be "active in the development and support of webOS" while also releasing the ENYO application framework for the OS to the open source community in the near future as well.

Just a week after HP announced it was dumping the TouchPad, the company said it planned to continue to support the WebOS platform.

Paul Hunter, head of HP's Personal Systems Group (PSG) in UK and Ireland, said at the time: "HP is fully committed to the ongoing support and service of customers who purchased WebOS devices" and the firm would "support the future development of the WebOS platform".