In the eternal conflict for mobile OS mastery, plucky webOS is increasingly looking to be fighting a losing battle against the likes of Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7.
But HP is considering an interesting move to try and turn the tables on its rivals: it wants to license the platform out to other manufacturers.
HP inherited webOS when it bought out struggling Palm in April of last year – in fact it was the prospect of getting its hands on the underrated platform that prompted the move in the first place.
Since then, however, we've only seen a handful of devices hit the market, most recently the Pre3 and Veer smartphones, and the PlayBook tablet, pictured above.
The platform is clearly struggling for visibility against the endless masses of Android alternatives, not to mention the well-loved iPhone and the increasing number of Windows Phone options.
HP is considering an interesting move to help solve that problem, however: it's thinking of licensing the OS to other manufacturers.
Speaking at the D9 conference in the US, HP boss Leo Apotheker said the company was open to working with other handset makers, and wasn't tied to the walled garden approach used by the likes of Apple and RIM.
“I happen to believe that WebOS is a uniquely outstanding operating system,” Apotheker said in response to a question on the subject. “It's not correct to believe that it should only be on HP devices.
“There are all kinds of other people who want to make whatever kind of hardware they make and would like to connect them to the Internet. We'll make it available to enterprises and to SMBs (small- and medium-size businesses). It will run on lots of HP devices.”
The question, of course, is not so much is HP happy for other manufacturers to use webOS, but rather will any of them want to? The likes of Samsung, HTC and LG are already involved with both Android and Windows Phone 7, Sony Ericsson has gone all in on Android, as has Motorola, while Nokia... well, Nokia has enough on its plate right now...