The Death of webOS?
HP stated yesterday that they plan to discontinue their webOS phones, but will "continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward." With that being said, the real question becomes "What will happen with webOS?" Here are a few options:
1. RIM can purchase webOS or partner with HP to upgrade their existing smartphone OS.
Pros: RIM is rapidly losing market share for several reasons - mobile OS being one of them. webOS is one of the best operating systems on the market, and integrating it into RIM devices would help to enhance the appeal of their smartphones.
Cons: The move will cost RIM both time and money to integrate webOS, when they already have a roadmap for QNX (RIM's newer OS). Furthermore, if RIM does finally get painted into a corner, they can integrate Android into their devices which would cost significantly less, and would immediately add apps to their customers.
2. Samsung can purchase webOS or partner with HP to expand the capabilities of their current products.
Pros: Samsung is one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world, and as of late, they're doing better than everyone not named Apple in the smartphone space (in terms of smartphone shipments at least). Mobile to Mobile or M2M has become a hot topic as of late, with connectivity coming to cars, televisions, appliances, etc., and Samsung is a major player in most of the M2M spaces. webOS would provide the opportunity for Samsung to evolve and embed an operating system that could allow features and apps to be shared across all of these electronic devices.
Cons: Samsung already is working on Bada (their own mobile OS), and they have been very successful with Android as of late - which already has an app ecosystem in place. Furthermore, Google is working on expanding Android capabilities into TV's and other electronic devices, leaving Samsung in a position to help to evolve Android without having to invest capital into the webOS platform.
When push comes to shove (and it will), HP may find a way to sell webOS. However, the inherit problem isn't the webOS platform, it's the fact that the webOS ecosystem wasn't properly developed from the start. As a result, none of the key players in the industry will want to throw money into a platform that has a very limited number of apps when they could simply use Android and increase product sales with far less costs associated. That being said, much like Symbian, we may be witnessing the death of yet another mobile OS in the past year. Who's next??