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Devices/smartphones

Could Qualcomm Take WebOS?

6:15 PM -- There's already been lots of speculation about the future of WebOS after HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) abruptly dumped its devices using the former Palm code last week.

Analyst Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates LLC posits an interesting theory: Rather than Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) or High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) grabbing up the code, chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) could.

Here's Gold's reasoning:

  • WebOS currently only runs on Qualcomm chips, and the company wants to differentiate its silicon from other ARM-based offerings from Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) and Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN). It could do this by offering vendors a complete system for entry and mid-level smartphone and tablet development, including the OS, the radio components and the central and graphics processors.
  • Such an ecosystem could help keep costs down and therefore appeal to vendors working in emerging markets.
  • Qualcomm's Brew OS is getting "long in the tooth."


Gold acknowledges that Qualcomm might risk ticking off some of its Android customers with a WebOS move. He argues, however, that Qualcomm already works with Windows Mobile and other operating systems, without burning its Android relationships.

What do you think, readers?

It sounds possible to me, especially since Qualcomm already has a good reach in the developer community. My only question would be whether the CDMA maven would want to take on another big, outside technology after its experience with trying to get FLO TV off the ground.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

miles4000 12/5/2012 | 4:55:32 PM
re: Could Qualcomm Take WebOS?

I hope HP announces a deal soon. With all these new Touchpad's being sold users will be looking for new apps to buy. So a licensing or purchase deal with Qualcomm would help. Plus they must already have a close relationship with the webOS folks.

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:55:31 PM
re: Could Qualcomm Take WebOS?

Not sure that's a good idea. Qualcomm hasn't exactly set the world alight with BrewOS. But it is a large part of why Android is a competitive proposition for device-makers, and is now benefiting hansomely from it.


Seems like it is also the platform that will make Windows Phone viable for firms such a Nokia.


How would WebOS help? Some kind of strategic desire to control of its own destiny could prompt a move, I suppose. Or general hubris. I thought Qualcomm was smarter than that.

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