Back in the heyday of PDAs, Palm licensed its operating system to other device makers, including Sony and Handspring. HP will not, however, do the same with the WebOS. Todd Bradley, the executive vice president of HP's Personal Systems Group has stated that HP will be keeping Palm's latest OS all to itself.
Not that we should be surprised. Google has licensed its Android operating system to numerous handset and tablet makers, and it's been criticized for the resulting patchwork of versions and re-skinned user interfaces that permeate the market. By keeping iOS in house, Apple has been able to offer a much more consistent user experience across multiple devices—provided, of course, that you don't try to run the latest release on last year's iDevice.
With WebOS branching out from smart phones and into tablets and printers, HP will certainly have plenty of its own products to showcase the OS. The company has already teased a number of features that are being incorporated in WebOS 2.0, which is slated to arrive before the end of the year.