Should Samsung or Google Buy webOS?

by: LucianAugust 29, 2011
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According to a report from Digitimes, Samsung is considering buying webOS from HP. Some people think that this is because of Google buying Motorola, and while this may be true to some extent, Samsung have been weighing their options for a while now.

They made the Bada OS as a back-up to Android, which is not doing too bad right now, out-selling WP7, but I’m sure they’d like it to be a lot more successful than it is. However, it’s very hard to beat Android’s momentum right now. Even Microsoft is having a hard time doing that with WP7.

And speaking of which, Samsung thought that WP7 would be their real alternative to Android, and even though their Focus smartphone was probably the most popular WP7 phone, I’m sure they weren’t very happy with the sales, and expected a lot more from WP7.

So, now, here we are with HP exiting the PC and tablet business, and basically killing webOS, which many people regarded as a beautiful and elegant OS, even more so than iOS. And of course, who hasn’t heard about or seen the webOS’ legendary card-based multi-tasking system, that even RIM had to replicate in their Playbook OS. If Samsung wants to give it another shot with another alternative to Android, this is as good as it gets. Plus, Palm’s mobile patents will definitely become handy when Microsoft tries to make them pay $15 per phone again.

But is it better if webOS goes to Samsung, or Google?

Ever since I saw webOS, for some reason I found it very strange that Google didn’t own webOS. Not only was it a much better competitor to iOS back in 2009 when Palm announced it, but it was also more compatible with Google’s overall vision of promoting web-apps and web technologies. WebOS has a lot in common with Chrome OS. It’s also a Linux based OS, with a webkit browser on top, and its “native” apps are made with HTML/JS/CSS. That sounds an awful lot like Chrome OS. Plus, now that Android got in so much trouble over patents, the $1.2 billion that HP paid for Palm’s patents, webOS and 1000 employees, sounds like a total bargain right now.

But that was then. If Google were to buy webOS today, it would probably cost them a little more, and I’m not sure if they still want to do it after they bought Motorola, but I’m sure they could use some of webOS’s technology and also some of their engineers and designers, who made webOS so great looking.

If Google doesn’t want it anymore, then I’d actually prefer Samsung got it. Samsung will probably never quit Android, at least not as long as they keep selling millions of Android devices, but having them make sure webOS survives, will offer healthy competition to Android, and might even get Samsung to give up WP7 in favor of webOS, which may end up actually helping Android, rather than hurting it.

  • Should Samsung or Google buy WebOS? We say Google. An Android/WebOS hybrid would be very interesting based on the positive experience we’ve had with our TouchPad.

  • AppleFUD

    The only reason Samsung or Google should buy webOS is for the patents.

    I purchased two TouchPads during the fire sale and have to say that webOS is way behind iOS, Android, and the Playbook. Yes, RIM one-uped webOS in many ways. Overall webOS is slow–you really need to turn off all logging and OC it to 1.5+ to get decent performance and even then the JS rendering is very slow compared to the others. That means with an extra 1GHz under its hood it still isn’t as fast as the others–that’s not good at all. However, that isn’t the biggest problem for the platform.

    The biggest problem is Google’s back-end services & apps. No one is going to catch Google there because they have the largest lead by a mile–voice to text, maps & navigation, etc. . . That’s what makes Android so special. It isn’t just the OS, it’s the whole ecosystem, thus MS’ deal with Nokia in an attempt to catch Android’s ecosystem and services.

    And after using a TouchPad for a while now I can honestly say that its multitasking abilities are greatly exaggerated. There really is very little difference between it and Android–the Playbook beats both of them hands down. The reality is, you spend a lot of time swiping & taping when using the Playbook–expect at least 30% more taping and swiping than on any of the other platforms.

    It does have its good point however they aren’t anything that make you go, WOW! And make the platform really stand out over the others.

    So, if Samsung is thinking of purchasing webOS to make it into a major platform for them . . . I see them following HP and throwing money into a black hole.

  • DrewP

    How about a webOS consortium of HP, Google & Samsung. There’s many good reasons why all companies should be involved in furture development.

  • Guest

    To be honest HP if they wanted to could sweep all Apple, RIM, Microsoft and Google in the courts fur to infringed patents: