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HP Considering Licensing WebOS, Samsung Reportedly Interested

Bloomberg reports that HP has expressed interest in licensing its webOS mobile operating system to other companies, potentially opening the door for another major competitor in the smartphone and tablet industries.
"We are talking to a number of companies," Apotheker said in Beijing, declining to elaborate on details. "I can share with you that a number of companies have expressed interest. We are continuing our conversations."
The webOS operating system was originally developed by Palm as an answer to iOS, but was not able to gain much ground against Apple's platform and Google's Android. With HP's acquisition of Palm last year, webOS has undergone a transition as HP has attempted to move directly into the smartphone and tablet markets. HP is launching its TouchPad tablet device within the next few days, and has been said to be trying to launch its own cloud-based media service similar in some respects to Apple's iCloud.


According to the Bloomberg report, Samsung is one of the companies interested in licensing webOS, presenting an alternative to the Android-based systems currently offered by the manufacturer.
A partnership with HP would allow Samsung, which uses Android for its Galaxy Tab tablet computers, to customize devices amid speculation that Google may restrict modifications for phones that use Android, said one of the people, who declined to be named because the talks are private.
If HP is able to find success with its new mobile products and Samsung adopts webOS as a leading platform for its own devices, the mobile industry could see a shakeup with webOS becoming a legitimate contender in the race to compete with iOS and Android.

Microsoft has of course been pushing its own Windows Phone operating system as yet another competitive platform, although customer adoption has appeared weak thus far. The company has, however, partnered with Nokia in a deal to drive that manufacturer's future hardware, a deal that could make Windows Phone another major player if customers embrace the platform.



Top Rated Comments

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102 months ago
My guess is, that if this really takes of, it would be more bad news for Android than iOS.
Rating: 25 Votes
102 months ago

Anybody else think that this item better belongs in a general technology forum and not in MacRumors?


It's well known that MacRumors often reports on industry news as it often has implications for Apple and it's competitors.
Rating: 13 Votes
102 months ago
I'd love for all 4 OS's to be mainstream players, no matter how unlikely. It would be fun to see each major update and all the hardware try to compete.
Rating: 10 Votes
102 months ago

Hopefully it happens, and Samsung can be the next near bankrupt Palm.


Well, I am afraid, that's not gonna happen.
Rating: 8 Votes
102 months ago

Oh yeah, it's doing fantastic. It's quite happily circling the drain, waiting for the other company that's doing the same, to get moving. Things couldn't be better.


Respectfully, no, you don't. What you *really* want to see is for WebOS to be *better* than Android. For that you don't need massive market share, just a better product.

Not controlling the end-to-end experience means you'll get an Android clone. It'll become just as generic as the non-iOS devices.


Could you possibly be more hypocritical?

I use a windows phone 7, namely HTC Mozart 7. It's a great phone that runs a great operating system. After all the love that I gave to webOS and android, WP7 has proved to be a better operating system with an innovative user interface and not just another iOS knockoff.

Sales do matter but its not the end of the earth. I can easily see WP7 gaining a healthy portion of the market in the next 5 years. But the operating system is rock solid and great to use.
Rating: 8 Votes
102 months ago
I love my iPad2. However, I think this is good. It might be a real competitor to drive some competition in the industry.

I was a palm user all the way from the Pilot -> Treo. While I know the current Palm/HP has no resemblance to the original company, I have a soft spot in my heart for palm.

Heck, is there anyway to get Graffiti on an iPhone? My note taking ability would go through the roof. I can probably write faster using graffiti than with a pencil and paper.
Rating: 7 Votes
102 months ago
I love webOS, but I hate the old plastic hardware it's on to death. This would interest me as well...
Rating: 7 Votes
102 months ago

I like how much this post shows that Samsung doesn't get it.

By splintering WebOS, they will lose a lot of their advantage since it will lead to app incompatibility and the rest… The same thing happening to Android is why Google pulled back.


I disagree. Licensing does not equal Open Source (or Google's pseudo open source). By licensing their OS they can work with the hardware manufactures to ensure some consistency. They will be able to exercise more control than Google has in the Android market.

Apple is running some version of the iOS on many different devices. iTV, iPad 1 & 2 (some with 3g), iPhone 3g, 3gs, 4 (att/verizon). I think HP's OS has some potential.

HP is the closest company to competing with Apple in the tablet market. Their tablet success will led their OS to get into more smart phones as well.
Rating: 5 Votes
102 months ago
OMG. Samsung Galaxy S II hardware + HP webOS software = GODLIKE.
Rating: 5 Votes
102 months ago
This sounds like a good idea, minus the part about Samsung customizing the experience. WebOS offers the second best user experience behind iOS and, in my opinion, is more attractive than Android. Palm couldn't compete with Apple's hardware or Android's licensing model. Offering the OS would likely cause much more competition for Google than Apple, but would add another credible player to the mobile market.
Rating: 5 Votes

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