HP's webOS could find footing among OEM partners such as Samsung, Motorola and Sony, which have grown frustrated with competing against low-cost Android smartphone and tablet entries.
Motorola and other makers of high-end Android smartphones have become
frustrated enough with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) mobile operating system that it
might open the door for another mobile platform player: HP's webOS.
and Motorola (NYSE:MMI) are the leading Android smartphone makers, with all
market share gains
versus Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and RIM's
(NASDAQ:RIMM) Blackberry devices in the past two years.
advent of low-cost Android devices may be gradually changing the sentiment of
good will toward Android.
Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdry said Motorola, Samsung and Sony are
starting to feel that their premium handsets and tablets have little-to-no
differentiation in the eyes of the customer against $20 Android phones from
Huawei, or $150 tablets from ZTE.
further fear that Android and its gross fragmentation across multiple OS
versions, carriers and devices may dilute their global brand.
and Samsung are "extremely worried" that customers are beginning to
pick devices based on Apple's iOS instead of their Android phones and tablets,
things stand today, Android has probably peaked, and probably will start
showing slow and gradual decline," Chowdry added.
This opens the
door for HP, whose CEO Leo Apotheker has said the company might be amenable to
licensing webOS to these handset and tablet makers.
would enable only two or three reference designs for only three or four OEM
partners to limit the fragmentation that exists within the Android ecosystem,
believes HP could license webOS for somewhere in the range of $50 to $75 per
OEM smartphone or tablet, enabling the company and OEMs partners such as
Samsung, Motorola and Sony to drive their premium brand at the expense of
low-cost rivals such as Huawei and ZTE.
since webOS is not free, the customer may be willing to pay for applications,
making HP potentially a more viable OS option than Android to Apple iOS and the
popular App Store.
analysts believe Chowdry's scenarios are unlikely, citing Samsung's strong
commitments to Android on smartphones and Android 3.0 "Honeycomb"
tablets, among other factors.
anything is possible with Samsung (they seem to do one of everything ever
made), it's unlikely HP would be that anxious to license WebOS, and it's less
likely that Samsung would want it without having a significant ecosystem in
place to promote it (e.g., lots of apps and user demand)," industry
analyst Jack Gold told eWEEK
in an email.
that he doesn't see WebOS making it as a general Android OS replacement for
vendors other than HP, which will, no doubt, push WebOS as being superior to
IDC analyst Al
Hilwa said there would be interest in an alternative to Android or Windows from
other OEMs, but the value proposition has to be clearly defined.
question for the platform owner is how to maintain a unified personality for
the platform without allowing OEMs to fragment it with their own user interfaces
and application frameworks," said Hilwa. "My guess is some will be
willing to look at an alternative, but it is hard to get the formula