Samsung has entered into talks with HP to acquire the webOS mobile platform, according to reports in DigiTimes.
The news site quoted unnamed sources in reporting that Samsung is considering a purchase of the operating system, originally developed by Palm and acquired by HP as part of its 2010 purchase of the handset maker.
HP put the future of webOS in limbo earlier this month by announcing that it will discontinue all hardware development on the platform in light of the dismal retail performance of the TouchPad tablet.
An acquisition of webOS by Samsung could have an impact on the Android market. Samsung is about to take over Nokia's title of top handset vendor, and the company's Galaxy Tab device had been selling well prior to legal troubles with Apple.
Charles King, founder and principal analyst at Pund-IT, told V3 that the challenge for any firm acquiring webOS will be developer support, as an extended absence of webOS devices could ward off many software developers.
"It is not just a matter of whether the technology is capable of being extended. It is going to take a lot of work convincing the developer community that they need to hang on," he said.
If webOS can retain the support of developers, the platform has the potential to catch on in a developing smartphone market which has thus far been dominated by Android and iOS, according to King.
The analyst noted that the ongoing legal troubles surrounding Android in particular could drive the market for a webOS acquisition.
"Problems with intellectual property have been plaguing Android for a while, and if it goes on or increases you could see Android being subjected to the technology equivalent of death by a thousand cuts," King said.
"Having a platform like webOS could be very reassuring to a vendor like Samsung."
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