Qualcomm CEO a webOS fan, would hate to see it go away (nudge nudge, wink wink)
webOS fans have been in a world of drifting recently, wondering who – if anybody – will be around to make webOS devices or take charge of the operating system from HP. Samsung’s already bowed out and HTC’s comments of shopping for an OS of their own recently stirred the pot, but there are a number of potential dark horse candidates in the race that could make for an intriguing match. Case in point: Qualcomm.
The dominant mobile chip maker builds the Snapdragon processors that power a large chunk of the mobile space, including the HP TouchPad and the chips in the Pre3 and Veer. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, speaking at IQ2011, lamented HP’s decision to shut down webOS device hardware development:
“We worked very closely with HP on webOS – we’re all waiting to see exactly what happens. HP has talked about not making devices with it, but then talked about spinning off the PSG. It’s really a little up in the air at the moment. We do like the idea that webOS would continue, we put a lot of effort into that relationship and it’s a nice OS. More choice is better for developers. But it’s really HP’s call at the moment.”
Jacobs also discussed the web-based frameworks that underpin webOS, pointing out that it in a way aligned with Qualcomm’s own vision of a web-centric mobile future. Jacobs neither confirmed nor denied speculation that Qualcomm might be interested in webOS, but unlike the other potential suitors, Qualcomm wouldn’t be a likely licensee. Manufacturers license an OS so they can build hardware that runs it, and building hardware is not something Qualcomm does or has expressed interest in doing. If they want webOS, it’s to own it and develop it as their own platform to license out in conjunction with their chipsets.
Of course, that would put Qualcomm in a unique position where they create the chips that are used across Windows Phone, Android, and webOS devices while pushing their own webOS operating system. It’s a bit of a conflict of interest, but not one that we can say we’ve seen before. It’s also worth pointing out that Qualcomm does have some experience in the operating system game already – they’ve been developing the BREW dumbphone platform since 2001. BREW is nowhere near the quality and capability of webOS, but if there’s an opportunity for Qualcomm to expand beyond basic phone operating systems into the higher profit and growing markets of smartphones, webOS might be it.
Source: SlashGear; Thanks to chalx for the tip!