"We continue to assess [owning our own operating system], but that requires a few conditions to justify," HTC Chief Financial Officer Cheng Hui-ming told Bloomberg this week. He didn't specify, however, if HTC plans to develop or acquire what would become an HTC-owned mobile OS.
HTC building and leveraging its own mobile operating system would be a blow against both Google and Microsoft, as HTC has traditionally built devices around third party OSes, mainly Google Android and Microsoft Windows Mobile. Some reports indicate that HTC manufactured roughly 80 percent of Windows Mobile devices globally last year.
And HTC's allegiance with Google Android has been its true boon. According to GigaOm, of the top 15 HTC devices in December 2009, seven of them were Google Android devices and eight were Windows Mobile smartphones. HTC's ties to Google Android, which saw HTC launch the first commercially available Android handset with the T-Mobile G1 in October 2008, helped HTC grab 6 percent of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2009.
HTC's share jumped from the paltry one percent one year prior, mainly on Google Android's North American and Western European success. Some estimates indicate that HTC represents roughly 60 percent of the total Google Android handset market.
Creating its own mobile operating system would give HTC strong control over its devices and give the smartphone maker its own mobile ecosystem, better enabling it to compete with Apple and the iPhone, Research In Motion (RIM) and BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows Mobile, along with Google Android.
The rumors of HTC possibly designing its own OS also come as HTC is seen as one of the front runners in the race to acquire struggling device rival Palm. Several reports indicate that Palm is putting itself up for sale as its mobile device sales continue to slump. HTC is seen as a strong suitor and could give Palm and its struggling WebOS a well-needed innovation injection.