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HTC Considering Buying Own OS 240

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-got-to-feed-it-and-let-it-outside dept.
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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HTC Considering Buying Own OS

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  • by Ezel (249772) on Monday September 12, 2011 @08:54AM (#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: (Score:2, Troll)

      by alen (225700)

      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.

      • by neokushan (932374) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:17AM (#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.

    • 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

    • 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.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        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.

        • by karnal (22275)

          Have had the phone for 2 years, no problem here. Not saying it doesn't happen, but for some it doesn't.

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        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

        • 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.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Which is better than what people are making on other OSes, look at the losses Win Phone and WebOS are making. Some profit is better than no profit. Do you think car makers should only make high margin luxury cars?

            • by iluvcapra (782887)

              Some profit is better than no profit.

              This is a competition, you have to be the best or improving, there's no such thing as "enough." Mobile manufacturers aren't going to settle for crumbs at Google's table, slitting each others throats while Google rides their back, extracting all the value from the platform. Particularly considering that Google is now going to be making their own phones and competing with them directly.

              I suppose it isn't a good thing that Apple's vacuuming-up more of their customer's mone

      • by bhcompy (1877290)
        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.
    • 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.

      • by Zeek40 (1017978)
        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.
    • by damaki (997243)
      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 th
      • by X.25 (255792)

        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.

        Did it occur to you that 50 well made apps are worth more (to a paltform) than 20,000 shitty apps?

        • by damaki (997243)

          As far as I can see, what we get on small apps store is 45 shitty apps. Have a look at the OVI app store. Did I make my point?
          I do not know about the Window Phone 7 app store, but I bet that's the same.

          Of course quantity != quality, but you have more quality apps on the android and on the iphone store than on any other application store. Furthermore, most people don't care about quality. They want their generic apps (Facebook, XYZ newspaper, etc...) and a lot of other apps, mostly free.
          Does Apple advertise

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Did it occur to you that 50 well made apps are worth more (to a paltform) than 20,000 shitty apps?

          True, but if one of those 20,000 shitty apps does what you want, even if it's shitty, it's still better than having none of the 50 quality apps do what you want.

          And that's the point - having half a million apps implies a ton of crap (always has). However, there's a pretty damn good chance that there's one app that does what you want, even if it's shitty. And to a user, even if it's shitty, it beats not having i

    • 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.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      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.

    • by jrumney (197329)
      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.
    • 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.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      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.

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      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 th

    • by X.25 (255792)

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

      You, like so many others, don't understand the concept of long term planning.

      Seems like 'next quarter' disease has spread way further than ever anticipated.

    • I don't really know, but does WebOS have to pay the Microsoft Patent tax ?

  • by Manip (656104) on Monday September 12, 2011 @08:57AM (#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.
    • by garcia (6573)

      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MrHanky (141717) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:45AM (#37376052) Homepage Journal

        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.

    • 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

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        "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

    • by afidel (530433)
      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
    • Well, the same could have been said about NeXT, but that ended up being a very successful produce for Apple. Its not the OS that matters, its the underlying technology.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

      • 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.

        • 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.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:16AM (#37375800) Homepage Journal

    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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:22AM (#37375852) Journal

      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.

      • by RogerWilco (99615)

        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.

        It's one of the reasons I bought an iPhone: No network-branded crap.

        (I don't live in the US, but they do that here too if they can).

    • "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 softw
  • 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.

  • Lots of OSes to pick (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Henriok (6762) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:22AM (#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.
    • 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.

      OK, since you've opened up the Pandora's box of Ancient Code, what about:

      CP/M - lightweight, simple. If it could run on a Z-80, think of what it will do on an A9.
      MS-DOS - yeah, a little clunky but if Microsoft complained about Copyright and stuff, you can just shift to FreeDOS. Hell, we could add QEMM and Quarterdeck for multitasking.
      OS/2 - Should be able to fly on modern hardware. Add a few big buttons and you're golden.

      and maybe a couple of others. Make the hardware Steampunkish and you've got an enti

  • Ahh WebOS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:24AM (#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.

  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:35AM (#37375942) Homepage
    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..

  • by ControlsGeek (156589) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:40AM (#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.

    • by VeriTea (795384)

      Mod this comment up. Even if HTC became the dominate Android manufacturer Google would still be cherry picking the profits through their control of the Android app store.

      WebOS is a very nice platform with an reasonable selection of *good* apps (1,500 apps might not sound like much compared to 50,000 but if the 1,500 include most of the very popular options you can still have a great experience). The Palm hardware was terrible - always a year behind what the rest of the industry was selling. HTC makes sol

    • by Chrisq (894406)
      Let me fix that for you.

      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

  • Seriously, HP, IBM, etc are simply gutting themselves because they have put idiotic MBAs in charge. No real engineers. They would be better off having engineers develop products and then hiring marketers who can sell things, rather than hiring worthless marketers who then grip that they can not sell what engineers produce.
    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      I actually think that IBM does have vision, and made the right move. The thing about IBM is that it does keep reinventing itself, and the PC was just a stage in its evolution.

      HP now tries to mimic that, but it has no clue.

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