Run HP WebOS in an Emulator under Mac OS X with VirtualBox

Aug 22, 2011 - 11 Comments


If you missed out on the $99 HP TouchPad deals that seem to have the entire tech web in a frenzy, don’t forget that you can experience WebOS for free right now on Mac OS X, just by using the SDK’s emulator. You’ll need to download VirtualBox and then the WebOS SDK which comes as a preconfigured virtual machine, but then you can toy around in WebOS and get a feel for the (possibly defunct) touch OS.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Installing the actual emulator is simple, even more so if you have any experience running virtual machines. Just download and run the WebOS SDK installer and when it’s finished the emulator will appear in /Applications ready for you to play around with.

It’s that simple, but if you need any more assistance you can read more on

Heads up to @mattgemmell on Twitter for the idea.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Development, Fun, Mac OS


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  1. Chris says:

    Here are my notes for others:
    After download…Install VBox.
    Then Startup VB. No need to do anything else with it.
    Download WebOS SDK. Run the Mkpkg Install. This will put the palm emulator in the Macs “Application” folder.
    Run the Palm Emulator. It will start up and a small window will pop up in the center of the screen. Click on the Icon in the window to hi-lite the Emulator. The grayed out “continue” button will then turn color. Click on the button and the Emulator will be imported to VBox and start running.
    Emulating the Home key is FN + left
    Emulating the End key is FN + right
    When in the Web Browser to scroll down or up just drag the page up and down.
    To clear an App from the full screen display use the FN+Left to shrink the app image and then drag and drop it off the screen.
    I haven’t got videos in web pages to work yet.

  2. Steve says:

    Best Buy near me just got a shipment today. They had stationed at what looked like an impromptu register stand and were doing nothing but Touchpad sales.

    While I was waiting on line, I heard that they only had about 16 left, but then I’m not sure if they meant they only have the 16GB model left…doesn’t matter because I just bought one!

  3. Dave says:

    Have they ported VirtualBox to iOS yet? Can’t wait to see webOS on a HTC phone at some point.

  4. […] sieć w temacie systemu webOS, natknąłem się na ciekawą informację znalezioną na stronie OSXDaily. Okazuje się, że można przetestować webOS zupełnie za darmo, instalując na maku darmowy […]

  5. D. Sohin says:

    Um, on a related note, how do you emulate touchpad hardware button (you know, _the_ button) on vmware virtual machine? I can’t even go back to start screen. Should i reboot the vm every time i want to start another app?

  6. Olivier says:

    Thanks I was one of the lucky to grab one but I’ll play with WebOS on my Mac for fun. It is a great OS for sure, sad to see it possibly disappeared.

  7. Dean says:

    why bother?? iOS all the way

  8. Greg says:

    I’d rather just buy a TouchPad for $100 and use it for a couch surfer. There ought to be a few available at some BestBuy and Staples stores.

    The other side to the huge demand for firesale prices is that Google and Microsoft are clearly paying attention and it’s only a matter of time before an ultra-cheap subsidized tablet is introduced at $99 and $149 comes to the market and actually starts making a dent in the iPad market share. It must compete on price even if they lose money, there is no other way they can get them into the hands of consumers because the demand is centered entirely around iPad.

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