Feeds

HTC mulls mobile OS buy – but won’t be rushed

Android outfit eyes HP webOS new playmate

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

HTC is actively looking at buying its own mobile operating system, such as HP’s WebOS, but isn’t in any hurry.

In an interview with Economic Observer of China, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang said that she and other members of the board were looking at the options for the company to buy its own OS but that no decisions had been made.

The company already has an Android handset range and produced Microsoft’s first entry into the smartphone market (after Sendo imploded) and has been close to Redmond ever since.

"We have given it thought and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse," Wang said.

"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."

It is hardly surprising that HTC is casting around for other options. The company has had a close relationship with Microsoft for years, and the two companies worked in step to push Windows as a smartphone platform. But Android’s success has proved too tempting for the company to ignore, and Microsoft’s recent alliance with Nokia means that Redmond has a new chief lackey for smartphone hardware. HTC has a patent licensing deal with Microsoft that covers Android.

Android is looking like an increasingly expensive option in the light of ongoing legal warfare, and even if Microsoft continues its customary levels of technical and financial support for Windows Phone 7 (a likely move, since it needs all the customers it can get right now), owning its own operating system could prove very attractive to HTC.

HP hasn’t said what its plans are for the WebOS platform, despite flogging off yet more TouchPads at a loss, but a sale must be on the cards.

This would give HTC a good base platform and just about enough developer support to build an ecosystem that could rival RIM or Microsoft for market share. There’s also the operating system’s patent pool to consider, some of which goes back to the early days of Palm’s business.

Nokia’s MeeGo platform is also a possibility, and Wang made a point of praising the Nokia’s research and development staff for their smartphone work, even if she criticised its management for being too slow in developing smartphones thanks to its dominant position in the older feature phone marketplace.

There’s certainly a pool of Nokia’s internal developer talent looking for work, but third-party coders have largely steered clear of the stillborn OS.

Wang might not feel that’s there’s any hurry; after all business is good with the current line-up. But it will have to move fast to catch developer support if the company is seriously thinking about buying an existing operating system .

WebOS retains much residual affection among the development community, certaintly more than MeeGo; but no-one is seriously working on either OS at present. And as more time elapses the harder it will be to persuade developers to return. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.