An interesting question was posed this morning in our forums by aia832003: should HP make a "Nexus" device? For those not familiar, Google has over the past few years commissioned a series of "Nexus" phones for Android, phones that are the launch device for a new version of Android and run "pure" Android, [mostly] free of carrier and manufacturer interference. They're also typically the state-of-the-art as far as smartphones of the moment are concerned. For example, the current Nexus device is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, a powerhouse of a smartphone no matter which way you cut it.
With webOS going open source, HP's going to face two problems going forward. The first, and largest problem, is convincing another manufacturer to take a chance on webOS. The second will be controlling webOS - while you technically can't control an open source project, especially with HP's plan to go with Apache licensing, setting the example can go a long way towards setting consumer expectations. With Android, consumers have come to expect and differentiate between the experience offered by the skins of HTC, Samsung, and Motorola. Obviously HP will want to avoid that kind of fragmentation, and setting the example with a "hero" type device might do that trick.
That said, there are some potential problems with the Nexus-approach for HP. The first being smartphones - it'll be hard enough to convince any manufacturer to pick up webOS, it'll be even harder to convince the carriers to give webOS yet another chance after years of disappointment at the register. There is of course the tablet market, in which HP could easily do the Nexus thing. They're planning on making ARM-powered Windows 8 tablets, and that hardware engineering wouldn't be that far off from what an open source Open webOS kernel could support. Heck, HP CEO Meg Whitman even said she'd like for HP to get back into the webOS tablet game.
So what do you say, oh webOS Nation? Should HP take the lead and set the example with webOS hardware, or should they leave it to the professionals?
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