HTC Considers Buying Smartphone OS

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HTC is playing semi-coy about the idea of the company purchasing a mobile smartphone operating system of its own. HTC chairwoman Cher Wang said recently that doing so is something the company is considering, but she insisted it’s not something HTC plans to rashly leap into.

By “mobile smartphone operating system,” Ms. Wang was likely referring to HP’s webOS. HTC is one of several Asian mobile hardware OEMs that have been rumored to want the OS, which went on the market just three days after Google announced that it was buying Motorola Mobility Inc. (MMI), the only major U.S.-based Android licensee.

In a recent interview with Chinese-language Economic Observer quoted by English-language Focus Taiwan, Ms. Wang said, “We have given it thought and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse.”

This could be a rare candid moment from a multibillion dollar corporation letting the world know what it is thinking about, or it could be a public negotiating tactic meant for HP’s or Google’s ears.

Either way, she made the case that one of her company’s strengths is the ability to understand operating systems, even if it doesn’t actually own those OSes. She said that HTC is able adapt a variety of OSes on the “second or third layer” of the platforms.”

In other words, she believes that slapping its own interface—HTC Sense—on top of a third party operating system (which is currently done with some of its Android devices) allows HTC to make distinctive products that it believes are more user-friendly and offer better integration than other phones.

Lastly, Ms. Wang also said she fully understood why Google purchased Motorola Mobility Inc. (MMI) and thought it was the “correct” thing to do because of the company’s portfolio of patents. She expects Google to take its time to decide whether it will produce MMI branded products or not.

Bryan Chaffin contributed to this article.