HP's statement announcing the open-sourcing of webOS skirted the issue of whether the company will produce future hardware for the platform, but the answer could have emerged in its accompanying FAQ. While not completely dismissing the possibility of using webOS again, HP has downgraded it to the same status as "other leading operating systems," meaning that the company isn't likely to develop hardware for it, but will "explore the viability" of doing so. That's probably as close as we're going to get to HP admitting that it's closing the book on its ill-fated involvement in webOS hardware and looking to fresher pastures. Oh sure, there'll be some vestigial support for the open source effort and the company will certainly keep a wary eye out for any upswell of support, but the TouchPad and (sadly) the Pre seem unlikely to be heard from again.

Update: As it turns out, HP's plans do include new webOS hardware: tablets! Meg Whitman and Marc Andreessen just disclosed that fact in an interview with us, however they did also say that they "do not believe [HP] will be in the smartphone business again."