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HTC Considering Buying Own OS

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-got-to-feed-it-and-let-it-outside dept.

Operating Systems 240

An anonymous reader writes "HTC Corp chairwoman Cher Wang announced that the company is interested in buying an operating system. From the article: 'After the global PC heavyweight Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) announced on Aug. 18 a plan to spin off its PC business and stop sales of its TouchPad tablet that uses the WebOS operating system, a slew of manufacturers like HTC and Samsung reportedly have been trying to acquire the WebOS platform to expand their mobile market reach. 'We have given it thought and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse,' Wang said in an interview with the Economic Observer of China.'"

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240 comments

Out of their minds? (5, Insightful)

Ezel (249772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375606)

So they don't realize that they have their position in the cellphone-market BECAUSE they use Android insted of IN SPITE of it?

Re:Out of their minds? (0)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375656)

The issue with Android is that it doesn't give you an edge over your competition, because the competition is either Apple or some other Android-using company.

For CEOs who decide company policy only by statistics and reports, that looks very bad.

Re:Out of their minds? (2)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375678)

An edge in the mobile space is achieved through: 1) a good design and 2) apps They can differentiate themselves in those 2 areas with Android just fine.

Re:Out of their minds? (3, Funny)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375768)

Yes, but you can't measure "good UI" in an Excel diagram, thus that's outside the thought space of CEOs.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

Lundse (1036754) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375990)

You know, this seems like the standard corporate-bashing, 'you're not an IT-guy like me, you'll never 'get it', knee-jerk response...

But seeing how most companies behave, it seem about right (apart from Apple and Google, who do seem to put UI design on the agenda).

Re:Out of their minds? (3)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376110)

You know, this seems like the standard corporate-bashing, 'you're not an IT-guy like me, you'll never 'get it', knee-jerk response...

Oh, but most IT-guys don't get it either. Computing has become mainstream, and it's hard to give up old thinking constructs (like more features being better unconditionally).

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376252)

Oh, but most IT-guys don't get it either. Computing has become mainstream, and it's hard to give up old thinking constructs (like more features being better unconditionally).

Yeah that just doesn't compute. I don't think I'll ever get it.

With a physical object it would be understandable, if more features were always better everything would be a ridiculous contraption like Homer's dream car [blogspot.com] - and a "jack of all trades but master of none."

But with computers we can get all the upsides of more features with none of the downsides (at least in software), so it makes no sense. It's like putting less books in a library if you had practically unlimited space and low fetch time.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376428)

But with computers we can get all the upsides of more features with none of the downsides (at least in software), so it makes no sense. It's like putting less books in a library if you had practically unlimited space and low fetch time.

It's not quite so much of a difference between hardware and software as you think. For example, take a look at the VLC preferences [site-hosts.net] . Note that "advanced options" is unchecked there, the list would actually be longer. Now suppose a layperson would like to set up a HTTP proxy, because their network requires one (note that 99% of the human population would even fail to understand it this far). Where can that be found? It's in Input / Codecs -> Access modules -> HTTP(S) -> HTTP proxy. No way in hell would a layperson be able to find that, and not only because of the techy nomenclature, also because it's way too deep down in the list.

Why are there so many options there? Because vlc implements everything, including the kitchen sink, and so the users are burdened with the task of picking out the set of features they actually want to use. It's comparable to a device with thousands of buttons [no.sapo.pt] . The UI in the image linked here requires multiple years of training, which most users don't want to do just for watching a video or listening to internet radio.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376538)

If the options menu had a search feature (like Windows 7's Start menu) then it would be easy to find, wouldn't it?

Re:Out of their minds? (2)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376624)

If the options menu had a search feature (like Windows 7's Start menu) then it would be easy to find, wouldn't it?

Yes, as long as the name of that option is known (which isn't a given in general. For example, how's the feature called for removing the black bars of a video?), but in my observations, laypeople aren't that good in filtering out nonrelevant information. They see everything at once, get scared, declare that they don't know how to do it not even noticing that search field there and cry for help (or switch to a simpler application if they're a bit above the norm).

In order to use anything (hardware, software, people, whatever), the user has to have a mental model of the behavior. It doesn't have to describe how the object really works, but it has to be good enough to make predictions of the outcome of the interaction the user is doing. If the object behaves differently to the expectation, or demonstrates that it does more than that, people either have to reconstruct an improved mental model (which takes time they don't want to invest, and could potentially fail), or they give up.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376702)

Oh, but most IT-guys don't get it either. Computing has become mainstream, and it's hard to give up old thinking constructs (like more features being better unconditionally).

I hope you're not saying that IT people think "more features being better unconditionally", because sane programmers absolutely do NOT believe that (the insane ones went nuts by trying to add feature after feature).

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376028)

Yes you can. This is what Microsoft does with its UI studies.

Okay, bad example. (Yes, I'm dreading Win8)

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

eviljolly (411836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376266)

Yes, but you can't measure "good UI" in an Excel diagram

I beg to differ. http://i.imgur.com/teooN.png [imgur.com]

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376362)

What if you put it in a PowerPoint slide?

Re:Out of their minds? (2)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375978)

Exactly. People aren't interested in another OS. The problem with multiple OSs in the smartphone market is the same as it was in the PC market of the 1980 when developers wrote software for Commodore, Apple, MS-DOS, CP/M, Atari, TRS-80, TI, etc. If the developers don't see a big enough market to go out of their way to write for your obscure OS, then forget it - no software for you.

Re:Out of their minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37376340)

This is the worst possible time to try to compete against those two. Android and IOS have a critical mass and huge growth and innovation right now. On paper, the MBAs think this is the time to get in. There is huge growth in smartphones and tablets and the technology is relatively new. Get in early and establish your footings. Android and IOS have their negatives and there can and will always be something that could be better. Yeah... Looks like a great chance to make something better huh? Hey MBA, it is already too late, every other attempt at making a new OS and repurposing any existing OS for these devices has completely failed.

Wait for the dust to settle and for the innovation of the two big existing competitors to slow down and then you may have a chance.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376376)

They can differentiate themselves in those 2 areas with Android just fine.

No, they can't ... they can't because they are just like EVERY OTHER ANDROID PHONE ON THE PLANET.

People don't give a fuck about hardware specs, just that its 'good enough', at that point software makes the difference. And the difference with Android is what? The amount of carrier mandated shit they put on your phone or how long it takes to jailbreak it .... err, root it.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376640)

Anyone that thinks HTCs Android handsets are the same as everyone elses has clearly not used HTC Sense.

There ie plenty of scope for HTC to bolt all sorts of cool apps and UI gizmos on top of Android and in so doing, differentiate their handsets from everyone elses.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

grantek (979387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375698)

That may be the case, but it is what it is. You don't have nVidia commissioning games that only work on their hardware, or to use a car analogy, you don't have manufacturers coming up with their own weird basic control UIs, and that's generally a good thing for the end users.

Re:Out of their minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375788)

I think I agree with your overall point, but I did want to point out that, in the mobile space, nVidia absolutely is commissioning Tegra-only games.

http://www.tegrazone.com/

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375840)

or to use a car analogy, you don't have manufacturers coming up with their own weird basic control UIs

You certainly did in the early days!

We're only a few years in to the finger touchscreen smartphone. I don't think that anyone would claim that WebOS, iOS, Windows, or Android has the touch interface perfected just yet.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376076)

Most SmartPhone OSes are .."Good Enough" at this point. Microsoft has been riding that train forever.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376264)

Microsoft has been riding that train forever.

MS is actually a bit late to the finger touch screen game. They have done the stylus thing for years, but people weren't buying those in large numbers.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375952)

If your approach to the competition requires a different/better operating system than they have, it's an uphill battle to hit critical mass with apps and THEN try and persuade customers that your OS is so superior they should abandon the "safe bets" of IOS and Android.

There is a great reward for introducing an exclusive, nifty OS that gets the job done and is loved by everyone. Problem is, most who try this approach will see their product end up on the "island of misfit toys".

Re:Out of their minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37376318)

HTC's success has never been about differentiating themselves from competitors with increased functionality. HTC has always been successful because they've been able to cram the most specs in a phone for the lowest price. It could be that they're looking to change that, but the GP's point is still a good one...Android is great for them because it allows them to compete on hardware alone, which is where they do better than their competition.

However the answer to GP's question is a definitive no. HTC, and especially Wang, is very smart and knows exactly what she's doing. This announcement comes, no doubt, because they've either figured out that Android presents too large of a legal liability or they believe that publicly looking at finding an alternative will give them leverage during settlement/licensing talks in their ongoing Android-related cases. If you're seeing this story outside of the context of HTC being sued over using Android, you're missing something.

Exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375686)

So they don't realize that they have their position in the cellphone-market BECAUSE they use Android insted of IN SPITE of it?

No, they have. They realized that they were completely dependent on Google to draw in customers for them, and that they had no way to differentiate themselves from a half-dozen competitors that are in exactly the same business, not to mention any number of HTC wannabes that could pop up at any moment.

And they noticed that their customers could jump ship as soon as they qualified for an upgrade with no reason to look back. That's all great if you're a customer (or Google) but it's terrifying for HTC.

That's also why IBM (and now HP) dumped their PC business.

Re:Exactly. (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376066)

No, they have. They realized that they were completely dependent on Google to draw in customers for them, and that they had no way to differentiate themselves from a half-dozen competitors that are in exactly the same business, not to mention any number of HTC wannabes that could pop up at any moment.

They're not completely dependent on Google. HTC also produce Windows and even BREW phones. Of course it may be those other handsets aren't exactly flying off shelves but then HTC should be asking why they're selling so many Android phones and why they're questioning getting their own OS.

I certainly don't see much merit in using WebOS instead unless HTC are going to go the whole hog and open source it. They simply won't get the interest otherwise.

Re:Exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37376558)

Your HP example makes no sense in this scenario because HP did in fact produce their own OS (WebOS), so if the OS is a differentiating factor, they already had that. Saying that the reliance on someone else's OS is a weakness, then using a company who didn't rely on someone else's OS as an example is just plain wrong.

Re:Out of their minds? (1, Troll)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375704)

android is not open. the source code to the upcoming version is locked up by google. making devices on older versions means the geeks don't want them and it's a race to the bottom of me too phones.

Re:Out of their minds? (5, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375818)

HTC has access to the Honeycomb source code, just like many other manufacturers, meaning it's a non-issue for them.
Just because it's not on the AOSP doesn't mean that vendors don't have it.

Unless you're specifically referring to Ice Cream Sandwich, in which case this is no different to ANY other version of Android, whereby a select group got access first, then everyone else. Besides, HTC has done a lot (more than most) to differentiate themselves from other Manufacturers, with Sense.

What I think most people miss is that HTC don't just make Android phone. They also make Windows Phones and (for some reason known only to them) Brew phones. What's the big deal with having another OS they can peddle, something that they can make entirely theirs? Samsung has Bada, yet they're still doing pretty well with Android, so it can be done.

Re:Out of their minds? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375766)

Google just bought Motorola's mobile hardware division. HTC would be idiots to not have a backup plan in place in case Google starts giving Motorola the new cool version of Android first, and leaves HTC, Samsung, and the others always with slightly outdated versions.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375982)

I can see the benefit of a backup plan in case Google gets petulant. For most of the industry, the backup plan is Windows Mobile.

Re:Out of their minds? (2)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375808)

FTA:

expand their mobile market reach.

Reads as: "So no one else has this option."

The only reason anyone would want to have this, is simply so no one else would have it. I know it sounds pretty crazy but if a company has the rights to WebOS, then who knows what might happen?! In reality, WebOS may just be a yawn and no one really wants it for an actual project, but then again the companies in question don't know that for sure, so why not get a piece of the action while the getting is good? That way if it does become something big they're on the bandwagon, and if it doesn't they got in early while the price was low.

In the end, the whole thing comes down to fear of a dark horse, rising up and stabbing the competition in the back. Really, does anyone think WebOS has that ability to topple HTC and Samsung's Android phones (with at least a 50% or better chance)? Most likely this is just a move to keep others from making a move, which is common in the cell phone market.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375900)

When I was using HTCs, it was with Windows Mobile. They had their position before Android. HTC makes great hardware. I'd argue that using Android would benefit them, but what if they pulled a RIM and include a compatibility layer? Then you have the best of everything.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375960)

HTC makes great hardware.

HTC has made plenty of noob mistakes, like Raphael's keyboard connector which pulls out when the keyboard slides out a bunch of times.

Re:Out of their minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37376314)

Or phones that arrive without an attached screen. I got two from them this way! HTC sometimes makes great hardware, although specs are fine usually.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375992)

Using Android IS benefiting them.

Trying to have a "me too" OS at this point without major backers beyond themselves would be an epic failure.

Look at how well Samsung Bada is doing... Or to be more specific, NOT doing. Android is consisting of an increasingly large percentage of Samsung's mobile market share.

Unless Google completely screws up the Motorola situations, I don't see Samsung or HTC dropping Android any time soon. It would leave a product vacuum (non-Moto Android phones) that new players would swoop into - consumers want Android or iOS, not a smalltime player in the mobile market with little developer support - HP's failure with WebOS is a clear example of that.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376478)

Using Android IS benefiting them.

In what way? By making less and less profits quarter over quarter as its only way to compete is by making their phones cheaper by continually decreasing the profit margins on their devices? Apple now gets 2/3rds of the global smartphone profits while HTC is now fighting amongst a half dozen other big companies for an ever shrinking pool of profits and is fighting a similar race to the bottom that has led to HP to ditch its PC division.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376120)

Exactly. HTC built themselves on WinMo, and they sold great phones for it(8525 and such). They migrated to Android and have been doing well, but they're also ramping up their WP7 phones as well(2 new Mango phones for them coming out this month, iirc). HTC does what it needs to do to maintain share. Android won't be relevant forever, just like WM wasn't, so these types of moves will happen.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375968)

Wouldn't having their own ecosystem allow them to draw ongoing profits from app sales, which they can't get now? Or do the individual Android manufacturers already get a sizable chunk of those sales?

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375998)

No offense against Google, but HTC is the only cell phone provider that's developed a UI for Android that's actually an improvement over the stock platform. Both Samsung's TouchWiz and Motorola's MotoBlur UI changes just make the Android phones they run under phone slower and flakier.

If any cell phone provided can make WebOS a serious contender, it's HTC.

Re:Out of their minds? (2)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376286)

I actually like the Sense interface they made it feels more intuitive than default Android, but it does noticably slow down the phone. I've got an HTC Evo 4G, and I rooted it for free wi-fi tether. I didn't realize how much faster the stock android UI is until I installed CyanogenMod7, probably because the phone as pretty good hardware specs compared to most smart phones. CM7 made the UI seem much more responsive, and apps don't stutter at all like they'd occasionally do with Sense.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

damaki (997243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376002)

Damn true.
Yeah, let's make another OS with no app. You know, the apps, the thing that nowadays make smartphones popular.
I really can't understand HTC strategy, even their lineup strategy. They talk about differentiation while most of their phones look the same, have similar specs and similar prices. HTC Sensation? Just like the HTC Desire HD... I am no Apple fan, but Apple's lineup, using old models as a cheap alternative make much more sense than throwing money at new models while retailers can't sell the old ones fast enough.

Exclusive (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376566)

They talk about differentiation while most of their phones look the same, have similar specs and similar prices. HTC Sensation? Just like the HTC Desire HD

Wikipedia claims that the Sensation is a newer phone with a slightly faster CPU and more built-in flash memory than the Desire HD, and the Evo 3D is essentially a Sensation with an autostereoscopic display. Another issue is that some United States cellular carriers demand to have an exclusive phone with an exclusive name. Samsung skirts the carriers' demands in its ads by referring to its carrier-branded versions of the Galaxy S as "Samsung Captivate, a Galaxy S phone", or "Samsung Fascinate, a Galaxy S phone".

Patents? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376294)

So they don't realize that they have their position in the cellphone-market BECAUSE they use Android insted of IN SPITE of it?

Maybe they want WebOS because of it’s patents?

Maybe you noticed that there is a bit of a patent race between the Apple / Google etc. as they buy up Motorola etc. It does not do HTC any good to have hitched it’s company to Android and see Apple et. al. shut it down.

With WebOS in it’s back pocket, HTC can threaten to counter sue if anybody sues them.

One just have to love the ill defined patens being issued.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376352)

So explain why there were in that same position before Android existed.

Just because you only recently learned who there are doesn't mean they are actually new kids on the block.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376378)

They realize. It's the anonymous submitter who translated 'We have given it thought and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse,' to HTC Considering Buying Own OS who is out of their mind - or perhaps they just know what sort of crap will be accepted as a story submission on slashdot these days.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376458)

What position is that? A race to the bottom of thin margins with all the other Android companies who are continually getting less and less of the global smartphone profits whilst Apple continually gets more and more of the profits quarter over quarter? That's a pretty shitty position to be in. HTC probably wants to differentiate itself in a way that they can actually get higher margin devices sold rather than fighting over a continually shrinking pool of profits.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376570)

HTC only has the ability to use Android (all of it), because they do what Google tells them. Google has made it clear that Android licensees are to toe the line. HTC, and every other handset manufacturer SHOULD be concerned if their entire business rests upon Google's whims, with no backup plan.

Re:Out of their minds? (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376614)

They also realize they will have to compete with Android's own maker, who will very likely get even bigger exclusivity windows now than before.

They also realize defending Android in court is costing them too much money just to be forced into licensing agreements while the android creators sit comfortably in the sideline free of lawsuits.

They also realize that Google is becoming too controlling.

They also realize it is them, the phone makers, that made Android successful, not Google.

If there is one company that invests money in advertisement it's HTC. I think every time I go to the movies every phone ad I see is for a new HTC phone, usually an Evo. Yea, they always say "powered by android", but its that marketing that made android a name, not the other way around. They can do the same to whatever they decide to use next.

Keep in mind the average joe, not the geek, not the technically inclined or the researcher, has barely any clue what Android is.

Either way, just like they did by offering Windows Phone 7 devices, just because they buy their own OS and offer it does not mean they will stop selling Android that same day. They will call it "diversification of the product line" at first, and should they manage to make it stick, after a year perhaps, THEN they stop making Android phones. If it does not work, just write it off as a failed project and move on.

that's why i'm going back to iOS (-1, Troll)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375610)

expect these companies to drop support for their android phones the minute the paperwork is signed

Re:that's why i'm going back to iOS (2)

beerdini (1051422) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375684)

Any company with a sense of customer service, even a poor one, wouldn't drop support to existing products like that. You'd be more likely to see whatever was already in the production channels come to market depending on how much was invested in them before you'd see the company change gears to make devices with their own OS...as long as they weren't purchasing it just for the IP. They won't just sign a deal and say the next day that they absolutely won't support their existing products.

I'd love to see HTC pick up WebOS, but I'm not going to hold my breath on it.

Re:that's why i'm going back to iOS (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375856)

and seeing how netflix and skype went, i'll be the first one to buy a handset from HTC and Samsung before they dump android just to not have it supported by developers

Re:that's why i'm going back to iOS (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376156)

And yet all of the carriers only offer replacement if a phone goes bad while under contract. Support? The only phones that even have any kind of actual tech support are Win7 versions as you can get an answer from MS, otherwise you might as well buy a plain feature phone instead of any type of smart phone since the carrier isn't going to offer more then replacement while it's under contract.

Re:that's why i'm going back to iOS (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375702)

Yes, I'm sure their shareholders would love them to turn their backs on the millions of customers who've turned HTC into a more-or-less household name.

Re:that's why i'm going back to iOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375744)

expect these companies to drop support for their android phones the minute the paperwork is signed

<sarcasm>Like how Samsung dropped support for Android and Windows Phone (ie Windows Mobile 7) once they started shipping their Bada phones?</sarcasm>

Or following your own logic, Motorola is going to drop support for any non-Android phone any day now, which means it's a perfectly stable Android company.

You're a pro-Apple troll, probably using iOS now. Go away unless you have something to contribute.

Re:that's why i'm going back to iOS (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375950)

Or following your own logic, Motorola is going to drop support for any non-Android phone any day now, which means it's a perfectly stable Android company.

That one is believable since Google is buying Motorola's phone division.

Re:that's why i'm going back to iOS (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375824)

HTC makes Android, Windows and Brew phones. Why would this make them dump them all?

Bad plan (2)

Manip (656104) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375626)

Why are they trying to buy a failed OS that nobody uses? I could understand it if it came with some IP of note, but it doesn't. Plus let's be honest it will expand their consumer base by almost nobody that matters - a few geeks who made a poor purchasing decision.

I'm not one to harp on about Open Source and Linux, but in this one case it is a situation where HTC should be investing that cash into their own Linux/Android branch rather than buying WebOS which is worth little or nothing.

Re:Bad plan (3)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375674)

Because they don't like Google and its policies? Android is great but that's because it has an app store that goes along with it. People want apps, lots of them but companies don't want Google to come along with the deal.

By rolling their own version of Android it's unlikely they'll be in with the Android app store and it would be just as useless as having WebOS (or any other OS "worth little or nothing").

Re:Bad plan (3, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376052)

People want apps only because of the extra functionality (and entertainment, in the case of games). Android isn't great, it's merely good enough, and what makes it good enough isn't the enormous amount of apps you can download, it's the fact that you usually don't need them due to the excellent Google integration. Android without Google would be fairly shit, for a Linux OS.

Re:Bad plan (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375692)

It seems everything is about patents nowadays. Perhaps by bying WebOS they get enough patents to help their Android offerings.

Re:Bad plan (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375696)

Having used both, I'd much rather have a WebOS device than an Android one. It was seriously let down by the hardware, not by the software. For example, in WebOS you have a conversation with a person, and whether it's via SMS, IM, or email it just seamlessly flows together. With Android, these are all separate streams.

HTC has shown that they can do hardware pretty well, so if they made a WebOS phone I'd be sorely tempted. I'd definitely recommend it to non-technical friends - WebOS is a not more user friendly than Android, which is quite clearly designed by geeks.

Re:Bad plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375810)

Seconded. Palm/HP failed because of horrible management decisions, terrible marketing, and bad hardware. The OS is great.

Re:Bad plan (1)

Geeky (90998) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375994)

Maybe I was lucky with my original Pre, but I loved the OS and didn't have a problem with the hardware either. The design was great, I liked the keyboard and it never actually let me down.

I particularly liked the physical switch to turn the phone to silent, so that you could toggle it without having to open the phone up or use the screen. I also loved the glowing notification light which stayed on when you had a missed email/call/SMS. The Android equivalent is poor by comparison and goes out after five minutes (yes, I could find an app, but how do you know which will be the right one? Especially for HTC, as it seems you need to root the phone).

On Android now, and other than finding one or two genuinely useful apps, I'd still be happier with an updated WebOS phone.

Re:Bad plan (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376026)

"For example, in WebOS you have a conversation with a person, and whether it's via SMS, IM, or email it just seamlessly flows together. With Android, these are all separate streams. "

Oh god I HATE unified messaging approaches such as this. A messaging medium with a limit of 120 characters per message has NO business being merged with email.

Look at how shitty Facebooks' messaging system has become since they removed the distinction between "email" style messages and IMs. No more subject lines, I get emails when someone IMs me... yech.

Re:Bad plan (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375742)

HTC already has their own Android branch, it's called Sense and while it will run Android apps it's really quite a different user experience from the base OS (IMHO a better one). However I'm not sure how many consumers make a purchase based on the differences between the software platforms. They care about whether the device meets their needs, and then price. Android has basically locked up the smartphone market for people that don't want to pay Apple prices or just don't like iOS for some reason, trying to fight that trend with a fourth tier OS is kind of crazy (even RIM with a much stronger financial base is going to have a hard time fighting the two and will likely lose or adopt Android in the end and I think MS's shareholder are going to revolt over their losses on Windows Phone).

Re:Bad plan (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376290)

I'm not one to harp on about Open Source and Linux, but in this one case it is a situation where HTC should be investing that cash into their own Linux/Android branch rather than buying WebOS which is worth little or nothing.

Open Moko maybe? :)

Market / App Store (1)

Demoknight (66150) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375658)

I bought the HTC Thunderbolt primarily for the OS and the market that comes with it. Apple and Google are the two dominant players because of their market/store not because of the OS alone. If HTC came up with a spectacular "killer-app" and gave WebOS exclusivity in some fashion than it might have a chance of people caring about it.

Re:Market / App Store (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375784)

Palm (and HP) produced sub-par hardware with excellent software. This makes up for a sub-par phone.

Throw in a killer phone such as the Galaxy S II with WebOS and you'll see if they don't sell like hotcakes.

Re:Market / App Store (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375902)

Nail, head hit. WebOS is a good OS, but so is BlackberryOS. However, one of the biggest reasons that people have moved to Android and iOS is because of the third party apps, mainly games.

What has hamstrung Windows Phone 7 is this exact thing. The OS is solid, the hardware conforms to a decent spec guideline for a snappy UI, and the security model is good. However, without the apps, people will turn their nose up at it and buy a device using a platform that their friends and acquaintances use.

In a way, what we are seeing in the phone industry is what we saw in the computer industry when formats got consolidated. In the past, we had C64, TI-99/4a, Amiga, Apple //, CP/M, Atari ST, Xenix, and so forth. These got consolidated over time to a few mainstream platforms (and it can be argued that all of these got consolidated into one platform -- AJAX and Web based apps) because most consumers care more about what programs they are able to run, than the OS.

Re:Market / App Store (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376288)

First off, turn in your geek card for using the term "killer-app".

Secondly, OS's come and go. iOS and Android have their day currently, but eventually they will fade like everyone else

Phones are for losers (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375688)

I call your mom and she comes over to my crib and we do the sexy,

If they could turn WebOS into a launcher / UI.... (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375750)

So basically instead of sense or touchwiz or whatever you ran webOS as your "skin", and it handled the multi-tasking and other interface elements... but the apps themselves were android apps that ran inside "cards"..... I'd sign up for that.

Meego (1)

quantumphaze (1245466) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375796)

They can always run with Nokia's abandoned Meego OS. They wouldn't even need to buy it out.

I would recommend that they buy out myriadgroup who make Alien Dalvik to ease porting of Android apps to their own store. I always suspected that myriadgroup was trying to get bought out by Nokia before Feb 19.

Re:Meego (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376276)

If they build a MeeGo GSM phone with modern hardware and a physical keyboard I'll buy it.

Re:Meego (1)

quantumphaze (1245466) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376400)

And USB-OTG with HDMI/DisplayPort. Then it can be a PC too.

I firmly believe that Meego is the only mobile OS with the best chances of bridging the gap between phone, tablet and PC. Just change the window manager.

Re:Meego (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376462)

I think those two are part of "modern hardware" at this point. Everything has had HDMI/DisplayPort for about a year now and more and more devices are offering USB OTG.

TRON? (2)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375800)

I'd wonder if they've considered the TRON [wikipedia.org] OS. Of course, hardly anyone in the US has ever heard of it, despite its being one of the most-installed OSs in the rest of the world. But the US is no longer an important part of the phone industry, y'know. And 99% of the customers don't know or care what OS the phone is running.

You'd think they'd be attracted to an OS that was designed for small gadgets, and which started life with strong support for all the world's languages, not just English.

Re:TRON? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375844)

I live in Spain and I've never heard of it, nor has any of my coworkers who I just polled. As far as I can tell none of them are running it either.

It's big in Asia as far as I can tell, so being popular or not has little to do with the U.S.

Re:TRON? (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375852)

But the US is no longer an important part of the phone industry, y'know

What do you mean 'no longer?' The US has never been an important part of the phone industry, from the perspective of handset makers. They don't sell phones to customers, they sell them to networks, who demand a low price and will only bundle phones with the really expensive contracts with a 20% APR loan hidden in the details if they don't get a very low price. Then they'll try to rip out all of the best features of the phone, leaving them network-branded devices, with most of the uniqueness gone.

Re:TRON? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37376470)

What do you mean 'no longer?' The US has never been an important part of the phone industry, from the perspective of handset makers.

I think that you might be trying to say that U.S phone sales market isn't the choice market for handset manufacturers. But, let's be clear, the U.S. phone market has a HUGE impact on global phone markets and is possibly the most influential part of any mobile market at this time.

I think you'll agree that the smartphone is the way of the present and future in mobile phones. So, what are the top smart phones and where do they come from?

iPhone - U.S. design, development and sales.
Android - U.S. design and development. Manufacture and sales is global.
Blackberry - Canadia
WebOS - U.S.

Yes, yes. Nokia sales eclipse any one of these but, Nokia's total market share isn't as great as the combined smartphone market depicted above. Furthermore, Nokia's feature phone market is rapidly shrinking and their paltry smartphone offerings are atrocious to use and atrociously expensive.

Re:TRON? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375964)

"But the US is no longer an important part of the phone industry"

Umm, what? The US was never a terribly commanding customer, since Europe also had pretty strong, early, GSM adoption, and the US has historically been in thrall of what suits the carriers, which made for (until recently) a market overwhelmingly composed of crippled dumbphones. They've also never done huge amounts of phone hardware manufacture; but the phone industry has arguably never been more American than it is now when it comes to software.

Our northern neighbors at RIM are turning in worse numbers every quarter, Nokia has effectively abandoned Symbian as a smartphone contender and become a Microsoft vassal for everything but their most basic handsets, HTC and Samsung have been going fairly heavy Android, with a modest side of MS. Motorola, American to begin with, is now a Google vassal.

Even on the dumbphone side, Qualcomm's "BREW"*shudder* and various mini-java flavors by the company formerly known as Sun are ubiquitous...

The US certainly doesn't exert unqualified dominion over the mobile phone industry; but "no longer an important part"...?

I told you! I told you all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375816)

The Amiga will rise again!

Not enough to protect them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375820)

Indeed, M$ and Apple are going after them over patents, not over copyright issues. Wether they buy an OS or develop it themselves, it'll have to address the same issues: data formats, streaming, power management, etc, etc. In all of these areas either they make sure that the OS they buy doesn't come with patent-encumbered solutions, or they have to design new solutions themselves. Both ways it is a technical/legal nightmare. They'll better team together around Google and buy together a pool of patents, then go after the bad guys using these patents. Buying WebOS might be a way to get a bunch of useful patents btw. As long as the law does not change, they have to play the patent game. Launching another OS would just be a diversion imho.

They completely miss the point (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375828)

They miss the point of why they're being sued. It's not because Android may or may not infringe on patents. It's because they're a competitor in an extremely lucrative market, and they'll still be a competitor - and a target - regardless of what OS their phones use.

THE LITTLE CHINA TEA COMPANY THAT COULD !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375858)

Oh, they are so glad the price of tea in China is so cheap. Devalue our currency and we will sell a lot !! To hell and back with our people !! We are China !! You will be assimilated !!

Lots of OSes to pick (4, Interesting)

Henriok (6762) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375860)

There are several cool zombie like OS:es that is ripe for resurrection: AmigaOS, MorphOS, Plan 9 and Haiku. One could even put an OpenStep foundation on top of any of these or something more conventional OS like Linux or xBSD and tap some similarities with iOS.

Ahh WebOS (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375870)

WebOS is one of those mobile OS's that reminds me of BeOS. The techies love it. But fails to get a strong customer base.

I think it was mostly due with Palms hacking WebOS to in essence Hack into iTunes to gets its media (for iPod Support) causing its main competitor Apple to keep changing their method to block WebOS, from accessing its system without Apples permission.
So Early Adopters would have shaky Music support where it is supported one day then the next it will stop then they will have 2 week later they will have it again then stop. Granted I don't approve of Apple locking down iTunes to only Apple devices, however Palm just ignoring Apples policies just because they don't like them isn't good enough, and ends up hurting their customers more then just saying we don't support iTunes but they these other popular services.
In the mean time while Palm is fighting it gave Android the time to perfect its system and get it out, without all the baggage that Palm has made for itself.

They already have one.. (3, Interesting)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375942)

They already have one.. sort of. They've got an environment running on BREW called HTC Sense (they use that name for a lot of things). You can find it in the HTC Smart released last year. And what happened to the Smart? It sank without trace.

Although.. I bought an HP TouchPad in the firesale intending to move it to Android from webOS, but actually it's a nice OS (although it has its limits). There's already an application library for it, not huge, but a good start. It would be a shame to see webOS vanish completely..

BREW app development hassle (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376654)

They've got an environment running on BREW [...] in the HTC Smart released last year. And what happened to the Smart? It sank without trace.

One big problem with BREW is that developing applications for it is a much bigger hassle than for Android.

Why Buy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37375954)

Why not just use FreeBSD with its 2 clause license?

        Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
        Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

Then they can use the freedom to not submit patches back and choose to implement non-GPL stuff if the GPL is too scary.

Having "their own OS" doesn't avoid the patent-lawsuit problem, but they are big enough to play the patent cross licensing game. Then they can "be the bully" and go after the patent-less.

Re:Why Buy? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376206)

I'm assuming that when they say "Buy an OS" they want an OS in the techie sense and all the trimmings: some sort of vaguely consistent UI, a development environment and preferred model for applications, etc, etc.

While not trivial, the strict "OS" bare-metal-to-userspace stuff is more or less a solved and commodified problem. Going with BSD would allow you to avoid the GPL in your kernel; but if your plan is to distinguish your smartphone in the marketplace based on your uniquely awesome proprietary kernel, I have some bad news...

Wangs (1)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375976)

Always want to do things on impulse.

A Phone and Android is not enough (3, Insightful)

ControlsGeek (156589) | more than 2 years ago | (#37375984)

A Phone and Android is not enough these days. In order to compete you need a network, an Application store and a stream of income that develops from that. Google sucks up all the added value from Android.

Was waiting on this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37376004)

This makes sense. Android is almost too much of a commodity. It doesn't let them differentiate their products outside of hardware and that's not "sticky" enough. There is a constant stream of leap-frogging Android phone hardware. As a big Apple user that now has two firesale Touchpads I think this is smart. WebOS is sharp...really sharp. It's polished. The apps are good. You will now have a lot of new WebOS fans after the HP debacle...and it puts you in the game immediately where as other options require a lot more work to polish and deploy. After using my Touchpads (now that they are tweaked to be fast...) I'd consider an HTC phone running WebOS as my next phone...

Prolem solved (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37376218)

HP-UX for smart phones!

Just made an OS switch last year. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37376332)

I switched to Android (HTC Touch Pro 2 to HTC Evo) last year because MS dropped WM6.5. I understand the need for differentiation from all the other Android phone mfgrs (Samsung, Motorola, LG, and others). I like Android a lot, so if HTC moves to yet another OS, I might take HTC off of my shopping list.

That never works for me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37376638)

HTC is thinking with its Wang?

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