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PreCentral user cdowers looks to have successfully booted up webOS on a Dell C600 laptop. The trick, apparently, is to take the webOS image from the emulator (which is compatible with x86 processors) and put it on an IDE hard drive (not the more modern SATA standard). Essentially what's happening here is that instead the webOS emulator running in a 'virtual' machine, it's running on the real machine.

Whether this will pan out into actual, usable builds of webOS for PC hardware remains to be seen - there are plenty of challenges to overcome, as tavik points out. Either way it's a great experiment and the webOS community is already busy planning patches to make the emulator operate at the proper resolution, get mouse input, and so on.

Thanks to Julian for the tip!