Amazon is about to release their very anticipated Android-based Kindle Fire tablet. As they prepare, rumours are circulating that Amazon might be interested in buying HP’s webOS. operating system. Would that make any sense as they roll out a brand new device?
Since the day HP announced in August that they were discontinuing the development of webOS, which pretty much meant the end of the HP TouchPad and Palm smartphones, people immediately began discussing about other companies who could be interested in either licensing or buying the rights to webOS. The first names that popped out were the likes of Samsung, HTC, Sony, and even Intel, but latest reports from VentureBeat state that the most serious contender could be Amazon even if other companies are still strong contenders in this battle.
But why would Amazon want to invest in webOS and pretty much waste all the efforts they already put in developing their new Kindle Fire which is an Android device?
The first thought about Amazon’s interest in webOS seems non logical: Amazon has just released its Android-based Kindle Fire tablet which already has people loving it considering the low $199 price which has forced the Android tablet market to rethink their pricing strategy. Why would Amazon want to purchase another mobile operating system when they are already using Android which is free compared to the cost that might come with buying the webOS operating system.
Firstly, consider that Amazon’s Kindle Fire represents in a lot ways an Android tablet in name only: go over the Kindle Fire merchandise page and examine how many times the phrase “Android” comes along. The result? One time, in a subheading for e-mail apps. The fact that the Fire uses Android O/S just isn’t a selling point for Amazon, and it Is not taken up with commercializing the Fire as an Android tablet. Amazon has put its own extremely custom-made interface on top of Android, splitting up users from a “typical” Android feel. The Kindle Fire is a content-delivery system with a internet browser, and its Android capabilities do not even deserve an acknowledgment. The Kindle Fire experience does not have to occur on Android: It may just as easily be operating webOS and nearly all consumers would never notice.
Building succeeding tablets and mobile devices on webOS would perhaps enable Amazon to innovate upon its personal platform, separated from any directions Google wishes to impose on Android. Google has been repeatedly charged of cracking down on Android device manufacturers who would like to push the platform in new directions, reportedly by constraining access to the most recent builds and asking rights to audit tweaks to the platform. Amazon beyond any doubt does not want to be addressed like a second-class citizen in the Android tablet manufacturer world, even though it is suppressing the “normal” Android feel. If Amazon were to buy webOS, it would be capable of charting its personal path without influence from a third-party operating system developer.
Amazon might also acquire a few technical virtues by a change to webOS: while it never actually had a chance to win in the marketplace, webOS was virtually proclaimed for its multitasking and surfing experience, as well as its media capacities. HP has already performed most of the hard work to move webOS from smartphones to tablets and additional devices (like PCs and printers). Android has many of those equivalent capacities, but webOS has in reality been around longer, and descends from the same people who manufactured the PDA: webOS could be able to add more capability to under-powered hardware, enabling Amazon to save money on fabricating prices.
A different asset in a webOS acquisition could be previous Palm chief Jon Rubenstein. During his tenure guiding Palm, he switched the company from its constrained Palm OS to webOS and founded what was conceived to be one of the most auspicious smartphone platforms up to now; if the society had not run out of money, Palm could have been a great player in the smartphone industry. During his days at Apple, Jon Rubsenstein is also the person who fashioned the iPod hardware and played a leading role in converting it into the supreme digital media player. The man understands hardware and knows how to create consumers devices — which is exactly what Amazon is developing — and he is already on Amazon’s board of directors. HP and Amazon are recognized to have at least talked about Amazon using webOS in the latest year.
Naturally, no outstanding deals happen in the mobile technology universe without patents being involved, and Amazon’s evident interest in webOS makes common sense in 2 ways.
First off, Amazon would either win or acquire important access to Palm’s stable of technology patents. Let’s not forget that Palm represented the society that put personal organizer* (PDAs) on the map, and afterward was one of the initial manufacturers of what we would call smartphones nowadays, therefore its patent library runs deep. When HP purchased Palm back in mid-2010 for a humungous $1.2 billion, former HP CEO Mark Hurd declared instantly that HP did not purchase Palm to get into the smartphone (or tablet) line of work: it purchased Palm for the patents. With all the patent judicial proceeding in the mobile world, Palm and webOS have been almost completely exempt. If Amazon were to swear on webOS for succeeding Kindle devices, it would probably be able to elude litigation over Android (with Apple vs. HTC and Google vs. Oracle currently being at the forefront). The huge Palm patent portfolio would also place Amazon in a secure stance if the society ever comes to loggerheads with Apple.
Secondly, going with webOS would enable Amazon to neatly evade the patent certifying tax Microsoft appears to be placing on Android device manufacturers. The Redmond software behemoth has been really victorious enforcing pressure to Android device manufacturers with offers to block them from potential future judicial proceeding in exchange for royalties on each device sold. The newest Android device manufacturer to tumble is Samsung, joining the likes of HTC, Acer, and ViewSonic. Microsoft’s success has importantly tainted the belief that Android is “free,” and ironically might put the company in a position where it’s gaining more profit from Android devices than Google does or perhaps even than it makes from Windows Phone devices, at the present moment.