HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

Summary: Android device maker HTC has admitted it is looking at buying a mobile operating system to use on its products. The obvious choice would be webOS, although there might be a fit with MeeGo.

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HTC CEO Cher Wang admitted to the Economic Observer of China that the company best known for its Android products is looking at buying a mobile operating system. HTC has been constructing a distinctive product image in a crowded field with its Sense user interface, and as Wang points out "can use any OS we want. We are able to make things different from our rivals on the second or third layer of a platform".

Wang made it clear that HTC will not make a decision on impulse, rather will carefully consider its options before making such a big jump. There are not a lot of options for an OS that HTC can purchase. The obvious choice would be webOS, the platform that HP has indicated it is willing to deal given its decision to get out of the webOS hardware business. HTC has the chops to make some serious hardware based on webOS, and could leave the litigious Android scene behind if it owned the platform.

Buying webOS from HP would give HTC some serious patents due to the Palm legacy of webOS, which could help the company in its current legal tussle with Apple. On the surface there doesn't appear to be a downside to the purchase of webOS, although as always the devil is in the details.

Another OS option for an HTC purchase would be nearly orphaned MeeGo. This platform was jointly developed by Nokia and Intel, but the former's alliance with Microsoft's Windows Phone leaves MeeGo all dressed up and no phones to go to.

HTC may only be the first OEM currently using Android to be looking at other options with Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility expected to close this year. It is not clear how the Android developer can avoid competing with partners using the OS while owning a major player in the space. That deal likely pushed HTC to start looking at other options than Android.

[via The Next Web]

Topics: HTC, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software

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  • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

    Forgive my ignorance, but how can you purchase an open source project like meego?
    argenis_a_z
    • HTC.. by doing so would like HP

      @argenis_a_z@.Just be wasting money. As for an OS to prosper it needs an ecosystem, it must be very competitive and have public acceptance.<br><br>Look at MS.. how much money and resources its already dumped into Win 7 and now Win 8. Other examples are Nokia, RIM, all these are GIANTS in the phone and OS business, they should know! <br><br>Samsung understood this and built an ecosystem of its own in Korea, but its not going to spread worldwide, it does not have the acceptance.<br><br>HTC brought us the G1, the first Android device that changed this World. But its own OS would be foolish.<br><br>Given the fact on how much it has started to lag in comparison with Samsung, HTC should focus on development and patents, not an OS. Samsung Galaxy S II is in a class of its own. I now have an HTC Sensation, but the Galaxy S (Vibrant) with all its faults was more stable and a better interface than HTC's Sense.<br><br>On the other hand, if you Buy a Transform a Vibrant or a Galaxy SII, you are a satisfied customer.<br><br>Now if Samsung could understand the need for timely updates, this is a difference in HTC's favor, they do understand that minor flaws in their equipment are compensated with timely software updates.<br>..
      Uralbas
      • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

        @Uralbas <br><br>Thanks for your response, but my main concern is who do you pay for the purchase of meego? I mean, being open source, doesn't it belong to the community? Who's name goes on the check? If they buy webOS they pay HP. But meego?
        argenis_a_z
      • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

        @Uralbas <br><br><i>for an OS to prosper it needs an ecosystem, it must be very competitive and have public acceptance.</i><br><br>An OS must get out there first. People don't just inherently accept something sight unseen. Otherwise you'd have to be accepted across the board before you could even start to compete, and that's impossible (especially if you're a new company and not an old incumbent.)<br><br><i>HTC brought us the G1, the first Android device that changed this World. But its own OS would be foolish.</i><br><br>And by your own logic, what Google did is impossible.
        microlith
      • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

        @argenis_a_z:

        You're usually paying for the trademark and often to hire the developers (often technically by buying it as a separate company). There's also some more things related to this you could buy.

        Also, if the company owns all/most of the source code you could take ownership and be able to relicense it.
        Natanael_L
    • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

      @argenis_a_z@... You buy the branding and the development organization that builds the seed OS.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

        @JamesKendrick That would make sense, except that in this case they would be dealing with the Linux Foundation, who has no interest in selling off the MeeGo brand (or, to my understanding, the legal right to do so, without the community steering group's approval).

        More importantly - why would they want to buy what they can simply (ab)use? They don't /need/ to buy MeeGo, it would be a waste of their funds when they can simply go mad with it and use it. If they want a seat on the technical steering group or the handset technical committee or the like, there is, i suspect, room for that as well.
        leinir
    • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

      @argenis_a_z@...

      You cannot. HTC could join the technical and steering boards, but they cannot <i>take ownership</i> of MeeGo in any way, shape or form despite what ZDNet erroneously posts.

      In terms of investment, they could support the MeeGo community and get much more out of it with less expenditure than buying and supporting an OS outright, for sure.
      microlith
    • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

      @argenis_a_z@...
      Well spotted. They can either pay for webOS or pick up MeeGo under an open source license for free. Interestingly the two OSes are very similar. The only difference is that MeeGo is now shipping commercially (Nokia N9) whereas webOS has died a death. Again.

      As for the lack of ecosystem on MeeGo, this is spurious. With a system like Alien Dalvik ALL Android apps can run under MeeGo. Hey Presto, instant ecosystem. And no more need for Android and patent problems. MeeGo is already patent cleared.
      Major Plonquer
      • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

        @Major Plonquer wait til its marketshare picks up youll see patent suits left n right.
        lolobabes
  • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

    IMHO HTC would be wise to purchase WebOS - it is a decent OS, HP is willing to sell, and it is always wise to diversify even in calm times much less during HTC's current legal issues.
    athynz
  • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

    I so hope this happens. I always wanted htc to pick up webOS for their excellent hardware, frequent product releases and faster software updates that puts Samsung to shame
    vasekvi
  • HTC and WebOS?

    HTC has been brilliant with their hardware. The thing that I was hoping was that HP would put their power into producing a world class device, instead, they created a great OS with logging on everything enabled, an under-clocked hardware and yesterday's hardware.

    If HTC can get the device to market in record time, this might work. But HTC needs to do more than just put WebOS out there for the world to use. They need to create an open market for development and exchange. They need to highlight the advantages of WebOS in order punch it through the market. Without a lot of modding, Android is still clunky compared to iOS. WebOS, not so much. But to bring it to the market will take more than just a slick marketing department or good hardware.
    nucrash
  • Would love to see them buy WebOS.

    Um, didn't Google just handed them patents to combat Apple? Wouldn't this be a slap in the face of Google if it turns out to be true, that they're looking into another OS for phones? And what does that say about Android when major partners (Samsung, HTC) are investing in other OS's to compete against it? <br><br>I think it would be wise for them to have their own OS to fall back on. There's allot of uncertainty in the Android universe right now. Plus it's just not sustainable a strategy to keep churning out new phones ever few weeks, seeing low revenue and even lower brand loyalty. It's all about the user experiance and the ecosystem, keeping current users happy and repeat customers.
    dave95.
    • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

      @dave95. I don't understand how Google could have even handed over the patents. Weren't these Motorola Mobility's patents? If so how can they hand them over if the deal has not closed yet?

      It would be a slap in the face of Google but at the same time is their move to purchase MM a slap in the face of all Google's Android partners?
      non-biased
  • Don't Do It

    I understand HTC's concern about Google and Motorola, but if HTC cuts itself off from Android, it will lose customers in my opinion. Who developes for WebOS? How many [good] apps are available for WebOS vs. Android? Can HTC succeed where HP failed at making WebOS not just a good OS but a widely used OS? Users of a WebOS-based HTC phone will have to depend more on HTC widgets than on WebOS third-party native apps for many functions in my opinion.

    I'm partial to HTC because of the current (but old) HTC phone I have, and the features in the phone not usually available in other phones. When I upgrade, my first choices will be some Android-based HTC phone or the iPhone. I hope I still have that choice at that time.
    brucegil9
  • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

    If HTC builds a webOS phone, I would be very likely to buy one, unless I get an HTC tablet running webOS first.

    Samsung may make good hardware, but they load it wth crapware and don't support their customers well. Galaxy S customers were upset with the upgrade to Froyo fiasco, and we all know there will be no Gingerbread on our phones.
    rp518
  • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

    Sounds like Meego can't be bought and who the heck in the average consumer space knows what it is anyway? If you're going to buy an OS and assuming you can get a deal from HP that makes economic sense, Webos is the clear choice here, especially right now as Touchpads are still getting pushed into the market, more than can be said for Meego by any stretch. Its got devices out there and its got demand (the aborted Pre3 is being hunted to extinction in the wild by users in the US who want it, but can't get it and touchpad fire sale mania is still raging). It makes total sense to buy Webos now and take advantage of that. Developers would re gravitate to the platform knowing it had a future with such a hardware maker.

    If they are gonna buy one, Webos has got to be it.
    Political Season
    • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

      @Political Season
      As a developer, there's no way I'd 'gravitate' to webOS after what's happened to it. Twice. Most webOS developers are now doing WP7 apps and will never return to webOS. MeeGo, on the other hand can utilise the QT development system and has access to all those Symbian developers. This is a no-brainer.
      Major Plonquer
  • RE: HTC considering purchase of a mobile OS; webOS or MeeGo options

    If HTC builds a webOS phone, I would be very likely to buy one, unless I get an HTC tablet running webOS first.

    Samsung may make good hardware, but they load it wth crapware and don't support their customers well. Galaxy S customers were upset with the upgrade to Froyo fiasco, and we all know there will be no Gingerbread on our phones.
    rp518