09/29/2011, 10:44 PM
After playing with the Samsung Epic 4G Touch and really wanting to see webOS on it, I started to formulate an idea. Please understand that I don't know anything about the cell phone business so if you are an industry insider don't take offense to the simplicity of what I am about to say. I believe that HP and the webOS community as a whole have gotten so hung up about licensing webOS to another hardware partner. Most of the potential partners out there don't want to take the chance at supporting yet another mobile OS and, given the fact that HP quickly abandoned webOS hardware without a plan, don't want to chance it with webOS. My idea is this: HP, don't license webOS to another hardware partner, license/commission existing hardware from that partner and put webOS on it.
Think about it. Why should Samsung take a chance with webOS if they don't have to? The app infrastructure is just not there and that will be one more mouth to feed. Why should Samsung hire a webOS team to place the OS on their hardware and maintain it? HP already has a competent webOS team that should be a one stop shop for porting and issue resolution.
Here is how I envision this working: Samsung (or HTC) produces a hot new Android phone line for the major carriers. Samsung takes the phone through the carrier and FCC trials and puts the phone line on the market. HP buys a vanilla (no OS, no labeling) version of the phone at a discounted price for volume, ports webOS to it, then sells the phone under an HP name and logo to the carriers to be place right along side of the Android version of the phone. HP maintains sole responsibility for hardware and software support on the phone. HP sets up a warranty program with Samsung for hardware defects where HP is solely responsible for recovering the losses for a defective unit from Samsung. In other words the customer only deals with HP.
HP's management just needs to put together a team of software engineers that will be capable for porting webOS to the vanilla Samsung (or HTC) phone and pushing it through new carrier trials all in less than two months.
I think this is a win win for everyone involved. Samsung (or HTC) can sell more hardware and not have to worry about software support (or paying $15 per unit to HP or Microsoft (for Android)). HP can get webOS onto more hardware without having to produce it themselves. The carrier gets an already proven piece of hardware with webOS on it. HP will lose $10-15 per device for licensing fees, but they could recoup it in higher carrier cost (get a webOS Galaxy S II for $210 instead of $199) or content licensing. HP could also build enough of a webOS user base on the hardware maker's own platforms to make them think twice about licensing webOS themselves.
Instead of getting overzealous with this I think HP should start small. They should order about 100,000 units plus spares to begin with and only order more units as needed. Their team needs to be able to receive the new units in one central location, image them, test them, and get them out to the carriers in under a week.
I think this is a good idea. I would love to see webOS on the Galaxy S II line. However, it's my idea so I am a little biased. What do you folks think?
Edit: I should have been in bed two hours ago so I apologize up front for any grammar or spelling errors.