Ina Fried

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Google Hires Away HP’s webOS Enyo Team

The whittling away of HP’s webOS team continues as Google has hired the team leading the Enyo HTML5 development project, sources say.

Approximately a half-dozen people — the core of what remained of the Enyo engineering team — have been hired by Google, and will start at the company next month. Enyo is the HTML5 app-creation framework that HP is in the process of turning into an open source project.

Google didn’t strike a deal with HP to acquire the technology, according to a source, but has been talking with individual workers over the past month. Rather, each of the workers making the move was hired individually by Google, with the team set to regroup at their new employer next month.

While it’s not 100 percent clear what the team will be working on, Google has been a big proponent of HTML5 apps, particularly as it looks to boost its Chrome OS effort, which depends on there being lots and lots of Web apps out there.

Also unclear is what HP will do with what remains of the webOS effort it had said it would help fund as an open source project. The webOS unit had significant layoffs earlier this year, and many of those who remained have since moved on, from former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein on down throughout the business and engineering ranks.

Google’s hiring of the Enyo team was first reported by technology news site The Verge.

Update: In a statement, HP reiterated its commitment to Enyo and webOS:

“We’re pleased with the traction Enyo has gained to date and plan to continue its development along with the open source community,” HP said. “The Open webOS project is on schedule and we remain committed to the roadmap announced in January.”

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus