HP announced their 2011 devices early in February this year. The Veer, Pre 3 and the TouchPad all caused a little stir in the webOS camp. While the Veer only received a few giggles and a pinch of the cheeks for being so cute and tiny, the Pre 3 caught the eye of would-be webOS enthusiasts; it is the first webOS phone that packs a serious punch among its Android counterparts. But even those of us who can't wait for the Pre 3 know, deep down inside, that the hardware will hardly be different from its predecessors.
This has been the primary struggle for webOS since its induction in 2009. The original Pre was a truly great device, but the keyboard was almost too small, the edges were rough and the hinge turned wobbly in mere months – sometimes even weeks – after purchase. So we prayed to no avail that with the HP takeover they would rework the hardware, getting rid of all the cheap plastic and flimsy hinges.
Truth is, HP isn't going to change things up, not this year at least. Hardware seems to have taken a back seat to software. Their primary focus is growing webOS, fitting it onto their computers and into every other nook and cranny they can find. Likely as a result, HP has considered pulling some hardware manufacturers into the webOS camp.
This isn't the first time we've heard of HP licensing webOS to other manufacturers and it certainly isn't the first time we've had daydreams of an HTC- or Moto-made webOS phone. But this time around Leo Apotheker, CEO of HP, has given our dreams some solidity. Apotheker confirmed that HP is definitely considering third-party OEMs to create some top notch hardware for their beautiful web-based software. Apotheker made it clear that he was not about to jump into just any ol' deal. He is in no hurry and will ultimately make the best choice for their webOS hardware maker.
But who should they choose? Which company will bring substantial hardware to webOS?
Like I stated before when the webOS licensing rumor first started, Motorola has repeatedly struggled with software and has even started questioning Google and their Android tactics. Hardware has always been one of their strong suits. Just imagine an Artix 4G or Bionic with webOS on it. And then there is the obvious HTC, who is constantly making some of the hottest phones imaginable. Their hardware is arguably the best of the best and they never take spec sheets too lightly. However, HTC's problem lies with differentiation. They've recently fallen into a rut and every phone is beginning to look almost exactly the same.
Among the current top dogs in hardware manufacturers, LG and Samsung remain. LG is the greenhorn in the smartphone realm and their devices have been a hit or miss among the top smartphones. If they can mimic something like the G2x for HP, I could see LG being the right move. Then again, they are likely the biggest risk at the moment.
Last and certainly not least is Samsung. Sources “familiar with the matter” have reported that Samsung is interested and already in talks with HP. To be honest, I've never really had much interest in Samsung until recently. As of late, they have been absolutely on fire, showing support for the Android development community, making probably the most impressive phone to date and even updating TouchWiz to be both tolerable and beautiful. I can see where it could be tough for HP to choose just one manufacturer, and here's to hoping they pick a few.
If I had a dream webOS device, it would be something along the lines of the Galaxy S II, though I wouldn't mind a webOS device like the Sensation or G2x either. If you had a choice of manufacturer for webOS, who would make the cut? What form factor would it be?