HP reportedly talking with other manufacturers to make HP WebOS devices
Hewlett-Packard Co. wants its HP WebOS platform to be the next big smartphone and tablet operating system to rival Google's Android and Apple's iOS systems. And HP could end up licensing the software out to other hardware makers such as Samsung to try and make that happen.
"We are talking to a number of companies," HP's CEO, Leo Apotheker, told Bloomberg in a recent interview in Beijing.
One of the companies that HP has been in talks with about taking on WebOS is Samsung, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.
Samsung currently makes phones and the Galaxy Tab line of tablets that run on Google's Android operating system, as well as laptops running Google's stripped-down ChromeOS.
Getting other consumer electronics makers on board with WebOS could help HP's chances of succeeding with the operating system it bought when it paid $1.2 billion in 2010 to take over the financially struggling Palm.
Palm now runs as a division of HP, working on WebOS products. But Apotheker and other HP execs didn't think enough of the brand they bought to keep Palm's name and logos around when designing its line of HP-built WebOS devices.
Apotheker was vague about HP's plans and didn't offer much detail on whom the company was talking to or what types of devices it is looking to get WebOS running on from outside manufacturers.
But Apotheker and HP have said in the past that the plan is to sell PCs with WebOS running alongside Microsoft's Windows, as well as its line of WebOS phones and tablets -- such as the Pre smartphones and the HP TouchPad, which debuts in stores Friday.
"I can share with you that a number of companies have expressed interest," Apotheker told Bloomberg. "We are continuing our conversations."
Apotheker refused to disclose any timeframes on getting WebOS on non-HP hardware, telling Bloomberg that "there is no time pressure to do this."
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: Leo Apotheker, Hewlett-Packard's CEO, attends a media event Wednesday in Beijing. Credit: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg