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HP CEO Says Google-Motorola Deal Could Close-Source Android 203

swandives writes "WebOS could be an important player in the long run as an open-source mobile OS, because Android could become closed source with Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman said during a speech at the HP Global Partner conference in Las Vegas. It may take up to four years for the complete impact of webOS to be felt, Whitman said. HP has said it would release WebOS — originally developed by Palm for phones and tablets — to the open-source community. The company bought Palm in 2010 but late last year announced it will not make devices that use the software."
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HP CEO Says Google-Motorola Deal Could Close-Source Android

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  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damicatz ( 711271 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:07AM (#39058395)

    HP has no reason to disparage a competitor for potential market gains, no reason at all. Nope.

  • by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:09AM (#39058409)

    Google doesn't make money from Android OS itself, Google makes money from the sheer volume of Android devices out there. Be it app purchases, targeted ads, search or whatever, the revenue Android brings in comes from everything except the OS. It wouldn't make sense for Google to close source it.

    Google is a massive company and if they wanted to make their own phones with their own closed OS, they'd have done it by now.

  • by n122vu ( 1126345 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:11AM (#39058415)
    Can they even do that? In order to close-source it, wouldn't they have to remove the Linux kernel and basically rebuild the OS from scratch to keep from violating the GPL?
  • Logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:11AM (#39058419) Homepage

    How is there any causal relationship between Google buying Motorola Mobility and close-sourcing Android? How would it in any way benefit Google to close-source Android? Even if they did, why would anyone use webOS as a replacement? Finally, how is HP still going with people like this running it?

  • by jordanjay29 ( 1298951 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:24AM (#39058503)
    Except the Kindle Fire isn't Android, it's just based on Android. There's a huge difference. The end-user doesn't see it, the developer might not see it (or they might, depending on what APIs Amazon feels like creating, changing or removing) but Google sees it and so does Amazon. It's like Red Hat building out CentOS with their proprietary features that cost you money, but benefit the customers who need them. Likewise, the Fire's close integration with Amazon and the Kindle platform will benefit those who want it...and everyone else will either deal with it or root it and stick their own custom ROM on it.
  • by zero.kalvin ( 1231372 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:29AM (#39058547)
    Google don't own Android, the OPEN HANDSET ALLIANCE does, that's one. Second Android 3.0 is not closed source, you can get the source code if you want, the only thing that happened is that Google delayed the release of code for good(bad) reasons.
  • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:30AM (#39058551)

    I think that it is more likely that we can chalk this up to just Meg being a little under informed about Android. ("Never attribute to malice what can easily be attributed to ignorance" and all that, dont'cha know.)

    I personally LOVE what she's done with WebOS by fully open-sourcing it and putting it on a nice LONG business cycle before expecting gains, but I just think she's talking from a position of ignorance of how Google's profit structure works with Android.

    Hopefully this will give her the opportunity to learn a bit more about it and perhaps find things that HP can take from Google's approach that will help bring WebOS back to the mainstream.

    As far as I'm concerned, WebOS is still light years ahead of both iOS and Android in terms of UI ease-of-use. It was never really given a proper shot to succeed and deserves a much more significant spot in the market than it's gotten.

  • Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:31AM (#39058563)
    Right, because the Google flagship phones (Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus) have been some of the most closed phones... Oh wait, they are some of the most open devices out there, far more open than the Droid you bought on Verizon or the Atrix you bought on AT&T...

    If HP really wanted an open source mobile OS why didn't they quickly release the source to WebOS? Heck, why didn't they actually make decent phones to go with WebOS? Like the Veer? Tiny, dimensions that make it nearly unusable, no software keyboard, no microSD card slot, proprietary charger, not even a headphone jack! Along with a tiny 910mAh battery. The OS was never really the problem with the Pre, Pixi and Veer, the problem was Palm (and later HP) could never make hardware that actually worked well and couldn't convince third parties to make WebOS devices. HP neither could get WebOS to the masses like Android (and Windows Phone 7) or make a single great smartphone like Apple.
  • The HP Visionaries (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:31AM (#39058571)

    "hey lets buy a flailing company and then sit on the technology long enough for itnto become uslesss and then sell it all at cost"

    I wouldnt trust the HP visionaries to predict the current weather righ now let alone the tech market.

  • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:47AM (#39058719) Homepage

    "As far as I'm concerned, WebOS is still light years ahead of both iOS and Android in terms of UI ease-of-use"

    As far as I'm concerned, OS2 Warp is still light years ahead of both Mac and Windows in terms of UI ease-of-use
    As far as I'm concerned, beOS is still light years ahead of both Mac and Windows and OS2 Warp in terms of UI ease-of-use

    as far as I am concerned, XFCE kicks the crap out of all the above, but what wins is what has the software that people want to use. That means that WebOS ls a distant last place because it has almost NO software to iOS and Android.

    HP knew that. They know that WebOS is a lost cause because outside of sending TWO free tablets to every single person that claims they will write software for the platform, they will never get to the popularity of the iPad or the soon to be fantastic (hardware wise and OS and apps wise) Android tablets.

    I write for both Android and iOS. I will NOT wrote for WebOS unless I am given a FREE tablet and FREE publishing to their store. Why waste my time with a dead before it started tablet? I'm already making money off of the top two platforms.

    that's the problem, good luck attracting developers to make the apps that will make people want to use the platform. HP should have PAID microsoft to write the Office suite for WebOS and gave it away free with the tablets and marketed to the Business crowd. They would have had a chance.

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @10:02AM (#39058935)

    The biggest threat is if google gets into the hardware business themselves and the other handset makers see this action as a threat. If google gets serious about making their own google branded phones and tablets watch how quickly LG, Samsung, and HTC start releasing phones with other OS's such as windows mobile or adopt another platform (like a webos).

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:03AM (#39059847) Homepage Journal

    f google gets serious about making their own google branded phones and tablets watch how quickly LG, Samsung, and HTC start releasing phones with other OS's such as windows mobile or adopt another platform (like a webos).

    You can bet Google is going to be working hard to make sure that doesn't happen, because while it wouldn't kill Android as a major player in the mobile phone OS space, it'd cost Android dearly. Google's press releases on the topic so far say they're going to be very careful not to give Motorola any kind of special access to the Android development process, or to give Motorola earlier access to new releases.

    That might seem difficult to do, but the fact is that Android development is already quite insulated from the rest of Google. With few exceptions, every Google engineer has access to every line of code from every project in Google -- and Android is one of those exceptions. In fact Android is even more isolated within Google than highly sensitive stuff like the search ranking algorithm. The highly-sensitive stuff is in the main repository alongside everything else, but with controls to limit access, while Android is in a separate repository entirely.

  • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silanea ( 1241518 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:29AM (#39060315)
    Dedicated barcode scanners may still be required in places like high rack warehouses where the barcodes are too far away for a camera to reliably pick up. One such place I frequently pick up parts from uses gun-shaped laser scanners so that codes can be scanned from distances up to 10 meters away. Try doing that with your tablet/smart phone camera. Also hardware scanners, in my limited experience, locate and read the codes incredibly fast and reliably. The camera-driven apps I have so far played with on my Android phone take their time and often miss codes if they are recorded at larger angles. They sure have their uses, but in some commercial settings the drawbacks of the camera-driven solutions may well add up to a $ amount in additional work or time that justifies buying hardware scanners.
  • Closed Source? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hordeking ( 1237940 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:46PM (#39063597)
    Maybe I'm stupid, but since Android is already open-source, wouldn't someone just fork off the last open version?

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright