HTC considers mobile OS acquisition

Could the firm make a move for webOS when HP looks to unload?
Darren Allan

September 13, 2011

The latest buzz in the mobile industry concerns HTC potentially striking out with a move towards independence in the operating system world.

Currently, HTC uses Android for the majority of its smartphones and certainly the most popular ones, although it also has Windows Phone 7 handsets on the go, with two new models (the Titan and Radar) due soon with the Mango update.

However, it would seem that the company is now looking at other options including the possibility of acquiring its own system, with webOS being an obvious potential candidate which HP will doubtless be looking to flog off.

According to Computerworld, when questioned about such a possibility, HTC’s Chairwoman Cher Wang told the Economic Observer (of China): “We have given it thought, and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse.”

However, she also added: “We 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. Our strength lies in understanding an OS, but it does not mean that we have to produce an OS.”

So it seems that the company is mulling the idea, but only semi-seriously at the moment.

It’s likely that in light of the Apple-Android patent war, which HTC has caught some lawsuit flak in, the mobile manufacturer is sensibly exploring options for the future. Although Google has given HTC some backing by selling it patents to deploy against Apple, some of which are drawn from its fresh Motorola armoury.

Of course, that’s another issue likely to be on HTC’s mind. With Google acquiring Motorola, are the latter’s Android handsets going to be favoured when it comes to further development of the OS?

And when it comes to Windows Phone 7, HTC’s other OS arm, Microsoft has of course got into bed with Nokia.

Whether webOS is a realistic proposition remains unclear, however. And what other alternatives there may be are thin on the ground. MeeGo, perhaps – which was supposedly Nokia’s stepping stone on from Symbian, but that appears to have been abandoned in favour of WP7. At least for now.

The next year will certainly be an interesting one in the smartphone world, although if Google wants to continue advancing Android in the explosive fashion it has thus far managed, it’ll need to keep HTC and Samsung on side.


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