HP is considering allowing other companies to make smartphones and tablets based on the WebOS but would not make it an open source operating system, its chief has said.
“Even outside companies may be allowed to build WebOS devices if they bring something substantial to the ecosystem. The prospective partners, however, should be special and should add to the ecosystem when they come in,” said the HP WebOS boss Jon Rubinstein at Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference.
The former Apple executive clarified that while WebOS would not remain a walled garden (a closed system), the operating system would not go open source either since HP was not in licensing business.
The WebOS platform of Palm was bought over by HP some time ago, and now is the time when HP’s mobile devices are soon going to come out in the market. The company recently launched its first product HP Veer to a not so good reception but is going to follow up with its ambitious products soon including HP Pre3 smartphone and HP TouchPad.
The company has not provided any specifics about pricing or specifics of any of the products yet. The HP TouchPad is expected to be a 9.7 inch tablet, running on WebOS and competing against iPad and some other Android tablets.
Some analysts suggest that while licensing may help in creating a bigger and better ecosystem, giving these licenses to companies which make competing products would be counter productive. Instead, the company may give WebOS to television, cars and appliances manufacturers as that would indeed make a rich ecosystem consisting of WebOS running products.