Right now, WebOS is the exclusive realm of former Palm and current HP devices. However, the mobile operating system might see something of a career shift into a bona-fide competitor to Windows Phone 7 and Android in the future. That's because, as CNet News reports, HP CEO Leo Apotheker stated plainly that he's open to licensing WebOS to third-party hardware vendors.
Apotheker made the surprising revelation at the AllThingsD D9 conference earlier today. Here's part of his statement, as quoted by CNet News:
It's not correct to believe that [WebOS] should only be on HP devices. There are all kinds of other people who want to make whatever kind of hardware they make and would like to connect them to the Internet. We'll make it available to enterprises and to SMBs (small- and medium-size businesses). It will run on lots of HP devices.
Later, when asked whether HP would consider licensing WebOS to HTC, Apotheker said the possibility was "certainly something we would entertain." HTC has a rather expansive lineup of smart phones based on Android and Windows Phone 7, and it recently added a 7" Android tablet to that product portfolio.
Since WebOS is already scheduled to appear in HP's TouchPad tablet, and is also being groomed for applications in PCs and printers, HP's apparent openness to licensing could have wide-ranging implications.