With the UK launch of its webOS-powered TouchPad only two weeks away, HP has confirmed that the OS could soon be seen on non-HP devices.
Earlier this month we reported on a bit of mis-communication between HP’s head man Léo Apotheker, who claimed the company was open to licencing webOS to other manufacturers, and webOS chief Jon Rubenstein, who said the company didn’t want to talk to any company already producing handsets running rival OSes.
Now it seems the two have got their stories straight and HP are indeed in talks with a number of companies regarding the possibility of licensing webOS. “We are talking to a number of companies,” Apotheker said in an interview in Beijing yesterday. “I can share with you that a number of companies have expressed interest. We are continuing our conversations.” He would not be drawn on who these companies were and when questioned about a time frame, he replied: “There is no time pressure to do this.”
Reports suggested that Samsung was among the companies in talks with HP, with Bloomberg quoting three people with knowledge of the discussions. Neither HP nor Samsung would comment on the matter. The reason given for Samsung looking at another OS besides Android, is that it fears Google could lock down its OS preventing manufacturers like Samsung from tweaking the interface as it currently does. However both Google and Samsung are denying this line of speculation with a spokesman for Samsung saying: “Samsung will continue to strengthen its relationship with Google to provide ultimate values to customers.”
Rubenstein has also been speaking on this matter, saying: “If someone wants to really invest, and potentially help develop webOS, we’re interested in talking to them.” He told This Is My Next that partnering with companies like HTC – who already have Android and WP7 handsets – would only work if they made webOS as their primary software partner and added value to the platform. A partnership like the one forged between Microsoft and Nokia, may be one possible outcome of the current talks.
Having seen webOS run on the Pre 3 and TouchPad recently, we have no doubt that it has the ability to stand up to Android, iOS and Windows Phone and making it more widely available can only be a good thing, in our humble opinion.