|Inside Mobile is written by J. Gerry Purdy, Principal Analyst of MobileTrax, and is published each Wednesday.
“Why LG Buying webOS from HP is Important”
by J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., on March 13, 2013
When Palm developed webOS, it was generally accepted that it was one of the best mobile operating systems ever created even if it was developed too late to help save Palm from the onslaught of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
HP scooped up webOS in April 2010 for $1.2 billion in what seemed like a smart acquisition at the time: HP could use it as its core device OS and build a wide range of products based on it from printers to handhelds to tablets. But, a little thing like the CEO of HP wanting to divest the company of the PC Division got in the way. webOS was facing a slow death by lack of focus at HP.
But, a funny thing has happened in the three years since HP acquired webOS: major device vendors are looking for ways to differentiate themselves in the mobile market. Building smartphone products based on Android was at least an initial blessing for major vendors trying to counter the iPhone love fest. The vendor could focus on building new device hardware, incorporating Android (which Google was continually enhancing) and building applications and services on top of Android to provide a differentiated product.
Lately, however, smartphone device makers want to control the entire user experience from hardware to operating system to software and services to better control their destiny. Google purchased Motorola Mobility in part for that reason which sent a message to other Android partners: Google realized that it’s important to control the hardware as well as the software environment in smartphones and tablets.
LG has been slowly improving their position in the mobile space over the past few years by focusing in advanced technology in their smartphone line. They have been using Android but, with the possible exception of the Optimus G “superphone”, LG still has not been able to have a huge winner in the market against Samsung and HTC.
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