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HTC is on top of the world. Although Samsung is on their heels for the fan-favorite Android maker title, HTC has clearly been the favorite for some time now. The Taiwanese company has put together the complete package – hardware like the Nexus One, Sensation, EVO, among many very popular others, and the much-loved custom Android software, Sense UI. It's been said many times before that HTC is the reigning king of Android makers, and rightly so.

But quite a lot has changed over the last few months, and much like several other Android OEMs, HTC is in a drawn-out legal tiff with Apple. Only recently did Google step in to defend them with the shared patents from Motorola, which is another point in question itself. Google announced plans to purchase Motorola, not only for their vast mobile patent library, but for the hardware, too. This means that Google will be in direct competition with its partners – partners who claim they "welcome" the deal, but all have recently shown heightened interest in supplementary platforms. Lest we forget that HTC pays $5 to Microsoft for every phone they sell. Sure, HTC has turned some major profits over the last year, but they could be making more if they weren't tied down by legal matters and royalties.

We all saw this coming

This morning, it was revealed that HTC is in the market to purchase a mobile operating system to call their very own. Which one, you ask? It could be a while before we know as HTC is still unsure; they're not rushing into any deals. But I have a few ideas worth speculating.

Since HP has exited the mobile hardware business, the future of webOS has been unclear. HP has shown interest in licensing the platform, but there have been no potential partners to step forward publicly. There has also been no official word that HTC was in talks to run webOS on their hardware, nor has there been any official talk of HP actually selling webOS to another company, but it is worth considering. If nobody jumps on the webOS bandwagon – which I fear OEMs may be slow to do after its poor market performance and lack of consideration from carriers – then HP might consider selling instead of just sweeping the platform under the carpet and taking even more losses. HP purchased Palm for $1.2 billion. Add the manufacturing costs, the months spent on developing the software and losses associated with the deep discounts on webOS hardware, and we're talking a fairly significant amount of dough lost. Selling the platform could easily make up for at least some of the losses.

If HTC were to buy a mobile platform, webOS is obviously the biggest contender. After the TouchPad fire sale, webOS has plenty of mind share – and a large chunk of the tablet market share. Despite a large portion of TouchPad buyers only wanting the hardware for an Android port, a slew of people that never would have given webOS the time of day have now done so, and a handful of them actually like the software. Amazing, isn't it? Pairing the beautiful webOS software with one of the best mobile hardware manufacturers around would offer the one thing webOS has been lacking from day one: decent hardware. There is, however, one major problem with webOS. HP's webOS Catalog is the gimp leg of the platform; Palm nor HP could ever kindle decent development support by comparison.

But webOS isn't the only mobile platform that may be up for grabs. After a deal with Microsoft, Nokia has announced that they will no longer support MeeGo after the launch of the N9 and will be focusing their efforts on Windows Phone 7. That leaves Intel looking for a new partner to continue efforts with their open source, linux-based operating system. If HTC were to partner with Intel, or even purchase MeeGo from them, they would basically be starting from scratch. The platform itself is progressing, as evidenced by the N9, but there is no market share, little mind share and little application support. That said, the beauty of MeeGo, is that using Alien Dalvik, MeeGo can run Android apps. When you consider the global following that HTC has, bringing a following to an entirely new platform shouldn't be too difficult.

Who knows, maybe HTC could reach out and offer a partnership with Fusion Garage. Grid OS shows some promise, but with a partnership with HTC, it could be turned into something huge. Then again, they would still be tied into Android, and it appears as if HTC is looking for an alternate route altogether ... just in case.

Personally, I see MeeGo as HTC's best option. Sure, webOS has promise and has an existing presence, albeit small, in the market. And it would keep HTC from starting entirely from scratch. But webOS is currently taboo and a rather large gamble – it has already failed not once, but twice. MeeGo, on the other hand, would give HTC the ability to build on an already developing platform and integrate their Sense UI from the core, without totally losing application support.

Tell me, ladies and gents. What platform would you like to see HTC purchase? Would you like to see something like MeeGo reworked and rebranded as Sense OS?

Image via All About MeeGo


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101 Reactions to this post

"Which mobile OS should HTC buy?"


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Xavier Jackson Where do i enter to win a phone?
David Olivarez Blackberry...... LOL
Johnattan Haddock Medina HTC good hardware+beats joint+WEB OS!!!
Larry L Roe Htcs Kool but it be stupid issues
Sergio Nayar WebOS all the way!!! I'm sure they'll know how to make it mainstream.
Alejandro Bedoy Webos would make HTC better, specially if HTC improves battery life.
Ben Isai WebOS
Zach Cline Lol yeah custom roms really rule with the cameras or gps not working right, Or better yet, I love how the 3G can go out after a while. Stock android ftw.
Gabriel Sotomayor @Zatch it not about been a fanboy, why would I buy a phone with an is OS with the lack if apps like WebOS or even WP7 , and also pay again for apps that I already have bought, if you tell me that OS has the same or better amount of quality apps than Android or iOS then I would considerate, it not about been a fanboy its about what's best for my pocket
Ash Hus Meego c'mon have u c n9 nokia Meego lookin damn gd it's can use android apps wherebout webos don't have right to use android apps so fink bwt it
Damien Brooks HTC and android make a damn good team, nuff said.
David Hilgendorf Google would NEVER sell android. HTC should stick with manufacturing devices
Cory David Baxter cyanogen rules
Eko Budi Prasetio support for the webOS
Teddy Garcia WebOS, no doubt
Justin M. Houston I had the original Pre and thought Palm really had something with WebOS. Man, was it slick. I hope it gets another chance!
CJ Osborne HTC needs to buy better batteries not another OS... That would be a huge waste of money
Brett Holland WebOS. HP never gave it a chance, but HTC would. It has great potential.
Henry Murillo Web is with a hint of sense :) or just stick to Windows only... Just make sure is lag free dammit!! Hate my sensation cause of it
Richard Ameen Web OS is the clear answer.Palms build quality was subpar hps was decent and if htc put their great build quality into a smooth os with good app support and frequent software updates, it could very well be on way to becoming an amazing os
Mason Hartley They shouldn't I don't believe there ready they have a good rep and they don't need to wrein in with some hamidown os which they will must likely force and push to get to a date which means bugs and bad rep
Chris LilXhris Blount They should buy None. They should make there own, called "sence OS"
Jason Vargas I think they should just invest in further Revolutionizing Android. Making GIANT leaps past Android Competition. Like what Apple does with the iPhone. Love them or hate them. Apple is ALWAYS ahead of the competition. As a Android user I would like to see the Ultimate Android Phone. I think thats what Samsung is trying with the SGSII so HTC should worry about that first
Gary Brown WebOS would be a perfect fit.
Jason Vargas @Cavin I dont think they mean its impossible to buy. I think they mean they just cant afford them therefore IMPOSSIBLE to buy
Mark Mann Duh Web Os
Cavin Raybon For those saying they can't buy android or ios...there is a such thing as an 'unsolicited offer' (but it's not likely Google or Apple would sell what makes them them). It'd be more likely Google or Apple to offer to purchase HTC. HTC's best bet is webOS. Starting your own mobile is requires plenty of capital and investment, especially when the is market is full of willing sellers
Jason Vargas Companies invest in the DUMBEST things sometimes. Stop worrying about OS when you have Android. Stop worrying about QUAD-core processors when dual core is enough. you build super fast phones you have The SAME EXACT SCREEN floating from device to device. qHD is not much of an improvement. Its just a watered down retina. Tip of the hat to HTC for investing in Beats Audio but make a SAMOLED type screen or make your own or something. And PLEASE PLEASE INVEST IN REVOLUTIONARY BATTERY LIFE.
Kyle Moll HTC would be dumb if they chose anything other than webOS, it already has marketshare! MeeGo has probably 0.001% of the market and webOS has about 8-6%! And Palm literally has the patent for a 'smartphone'! With that HTC could sue any smartphone maker for patent infringement! With that they could win this ongoing patent battle with Apple!
Amanda Rivera Android!!
Keven Sotto Ngujo MeeGo will be the best choice... But so sad dumb nokia dumped the MeeGo OS... Its better than symbian and its incredibly fast and great for multitasking... And i personally think its better than android... Android is laggy... XD
Zach Cline I think people need to learn how to spell. It's "sense" Not "scence".
Zach Cline No gabe you're an android fanboy. It's pretty clear when you say things like " I won't buy anything from htc unless it's android".
Cody Hilton Webos is the best but it could have some more apps.
Vlad Valentine McBride Webos + htc sense=domination of android and iphone
Mir Murtaza Beginning to till the end MeeGo MeeGo MeeGo & only MeeGo but dnt ever try to kick off Android..
Aaron Andrew Caniglia HTC is only successful because of Android. Any other OS would be like a side project... Just like Samsung and Bada
Anonymous Android ice cream sandwich
Nahtanoj Divad Htrab No. I don't think they should add another OS. It wouldn't work in an already absorbed market.
Tyler Neill Webos, because android sucks, besides it's selection of apps, most tech people say webos is better, and it is
Vladimyr J-r For now I think it would be best to just have webos licensed to them and see what they can come up with as far as a htc sense/ webos integration on their hardware and see how well will it do on the market then maybe decide on buying but for now focus on some improvements, they've been pushing out a lot of products with slightly better battery. I think the move google made is freaking out some companies as the likes of samsung with their webos /bada looks like everyone else wants to have their os to compete. Bring the tablet prices down a bit and they'll be able to compete.
Brandon Nsfw Jackson WEBOS ALL THE WAY
Angel Cambero Now that Steve jobs is gone the should buy ios lols
Bruce W. Thomas Jr. They've got the hardware... now if only they can find the software for the phones... I think they should go with Web OS... might be a solid combo with HTC Sense...
Chris Yorke People, Sense is not an OS. It is a skin/overlay. Android or WinMo is the OS under it.
Jennifer DeAlmeida Hey dummies, HTC can't buy Android. They use Android and as far as I know Google hasn't put Android up for sale. Lol. Obviously they should buy WebOS and grow the market. HTC WebOS FTW! ;)
Ian Keiner This is an obvious answer! The most elegantly designed, smooth mutlitaking powerhouse that is webOS is the OS that is just begging for the proper engine to run it. It's solid on the Pre2 and would've rocked on the Pre3 so let's get this going HTC. You were a hardware partner with Palm on their windows phone (TREO 850) so this makes the most "sense," pun intended! ;-)
Lennes Shaw Ayo...yall going have to back up off my boy jobs!!! @ tj timebomb even though it was a funny comment. Lol
Ibraheem Alkhazrajy i think they should make their own os
Zach Cottle Lol I just got my htc merge and I think it should keep the htc scence
Joseph Allen Symbian. Lol
Michael Miller They need to worry more about fixing their battery life issues.
Luis Valentin-Zeno You guys have to be realistic (jokes sure but still) .. HTC cannot buy Android, HoneyComb or iOS.. thats out of the question... They dont have the money to buy Android from Google or iOS from Apple... Their only likely choice is webOS or Meego since their the two OS's that are up for grabs
Mark Orlowski Honeycomb
Brandon Ricker Meego would be there best choice next to building their own OS, webos needs a lot of work to appeal to ppl
Michael A. Lococo Why buy? WP7 is the perfect solution!
Jeremy Schneider MIUI Android
Gabriel Sotomayor @Kim auto correct already do that, I think a brain usage booster will be just fine
Oscar Mendoza WebOS!!!
Gabriel Sotomayor HTC have a customer base but its because Android, in my case I will not buy any other HTC phone if its not Android (not a fanboy just in case, just my opinion)
Cory David Baxter webs os because it sucks just like htc battery life
Juan Sebastian Android !, Htc should buy Android, is the best OS i ever used I have both Nexus One and Iphone 4 and I like Android better than Iphone Os !
Tom Lee No. webOS is unsalvageable technically. It'd be much cheaper to clone the Cards/Stacks features into the Sense UI, a bit like what Mango seems to have done.
Rik Rasmussen Doesn't make any difference. Anytrhing other than Android is going to be a dud and a money loser.
Anthony Nunyah HTC SIMPLY SUX
Dylan Greene they should make their own
Christopher Cole Google is not going to sell Android. Hence, why they are considering buying their own OS. Please READ, and then THINK, before adding a comment. With that said, I personally don't think they should be their own OS at this time.
Ash Hus Meego has got more love then webos I wud buy if htc come wid meego
Ash Hus I would say buy Meego!!!!
Zac Soares What they should buy, they can't (Android) witch is a good thing because they would run it into the ground
Tj Robinson Htc should buy iOS since apple is a little short on Jobs right now
David McNeill They should invest in screen technology not OS's, imo theyve suffered since they lost Amoled from the earlier Nexus and Desire days.
Luis Lopez iOS! Haha. I love my HTC Sensation 4G. :)
Marcin Wietrzycki MeeGo I think. But WebOS is good OS too.
Akil Springle I think WebOs is a good fit
Sean Jensen WebOS then throw android market on it
Kyle Moll webOS would be a very smart move for HTC, they already have a customer base, tablet and phone os versions, thousands of apps, they wouldn't 'buy' it because HP doesn't want to loose more money, HP will try to license it to HTC. And HTC will bring more developers to the platform to make more apps, and gain market share. In which case HTC will be building hardware for 3 of the 4 major OSes!
Jeff Daunis Android,then they should come up with effective app to teach people how to spell!!!
Steven Jones Whichever one that brings GINGERBREAD TO THE THUNDERBOLT!!!!!
David Cohen Web os is so fluent now for people that don't like it load preware then come back... I think it might be a good deal for HTC....
Kelly Martin they shouldnt!!!!! keep android!!
Francis Mogote lol! MIUI?
Colton Jung iOS! hH
Brett Day webos, I wrote an article about it this morning, please follow my website http://www.bytesizednews.com/
Sid Acidic WP7 . u jacob should get out .
Mahmudur Rahman Lol @jacob totally agree
Courtney André Mathurin Android all the way
Sam Bahhur WEB OS 4 EVA




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