Could HTC Succeed with its Own Open Source Mobile OS?

by Sam Dean - Sep. 12, 2011Comments (3)

Is it too late for a new open source mobile operating system to compete with Android? OStatic has made the point many times that Android has reached an incredible volume of welcome in a very short time. After all, in March of 2009, when only one Android handset was shown at Mobile World Congress, many analysts wondered if the OS was dead coming out of the gate. Android's meteoric success since then also coincided with multiple dropped balls from Symbian in trying to open source its once hugely powerful mobile platform. Now that HP has taken its foot of the gas with its WebOS platform, Android doesn't really have clear open source competition anymore. That could still change, though.

There have been many reports that Google wants to "supercharge" its Android efforts through its purchase of Motorola Mobility, which puts Google squarely in the handset and hardware mobile business. At the same time, though, hardware players who have adopted Android have to wonder whether they'll become second-class citizens as Google steers new versions of Android toward its own phones and its own plans.

HTC is one of those hardware players to have made huge bets on Android, many of them successful. Now, HTC officials have come out and said they are interested in buying an operating system, and it would be smart for HTC to pursue its own open source mobile OS. Cher Wang, chairwoman of HTC, has pointed particularly to the possibility of HTC buying WebOS. In this post, she is quoted as saying:

"We have given it thought and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse...We can use any OS we want. We are able to make things different from our rivals on the second or third layer of a platform...Our strength lies in understanding an OS, but it does not mean that we have to produce an OS."

HTC did a shrewd job of understanding the potential of Android, and the company understood that potential early on. A peek at the amount of ground that Android has covered in a short time seems to leave the door wide open for a player such as HTC to promote its own mobile OS.

Perhaps the most troublesome argument against such a move would be that Apple's and Android's app stores are now teeming with good applications. That would be a challenge for a new player with a new mobile OS, but not an insurmountable one. 

Mark Hinkle uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


Technically, they probably could. Legally, they could not. HTC has a reputation of solid software and mobile devices, and if they introduced something else, I think people would be willing to give it a chance. That being said, HTC does not have the patent portfolio to stand alone against Apple or Microsoft, who would sue them into oblivion, a sad reality to be sure, but reality nonetheless.

Now all that being said, I really hope they don't. I love Android, and I love HTCs take on the platform. I have owned (and developed on), just about every modern mobile platform, and the HTC androids have been head and shoulders my favorite. I chose Sprint specifically because they had the Evo, and stayed because of the Evo 3d (and now, the unlimited data also). I have been nothing short of thrilled with my HTC androids, and seeing them go their separate ways would be like outlawing bacon on burgers. How could you choose?

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I will not going to develop another open source OS if I am HTC. HTC Sense was developed based on Android platform which is done a very good job if compare to Touchwiz from samsung and Motoblur from Motorola (unfortunately Motorola mobile owned by Google now).

When we talking about Operating System in Mobile line, there is not only the OS , but a whole ecosystem to support your OS. For example, iOS , it will not selling well if your iPhone or your iPad comes without iTunes or AppStore. Agree ?

Android is doing the same thing to build an complete ecosystem.

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There's a possible solution for the lack of software: use the open source software already available for a whatever Linux desktop (or maybe support Meego?); don't know how easy could be to port it to arm architecture, though...

but think about it, you would have every program (or app ;)) you'll ever need, without the need to reinvent the wheel.

Sometimes I really would use some gnu/foss software on Android.

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