Amazon released the Kindle Fire last week and has taken pre-orders for thousands already. The Wi-Fi enabled device uses the Android operating system, but it's a customized form just for Kindle Fire. Android is a fine system, but if Amazon really wants to take off as the tablet maker all others want to be like, it should buy webOS, the Hewlett-Packard-owned operating system.
HP announced in August they were discontinuing webOS and have been rumored to be looking for a buyer. Furthermore, Amazon now has a board member who used to work at HP and helped market webOS when it was first acquired in the Palm merger in 2010. Here are the top five reasons why Amazon should buy webOS:
#1 Multitasking is very intuitive in webOS. The apps become like cards in a deck that can be shuffled around and, of course, run simultaneously. Simply flick a card off the screen and the app closes. It's actually kind of fun and super easy to learn to use. Being able to run multiple apps at the same time is equally huge because it gives users the type of interactivity they love. Who doesn't like to listen to Pandora while surfing the Web, right?
#2 Kindle Fire's Android OS is customized beyond recognition, but having their own system in place would really make them standout. Amazon would have total control over the OS instead of waiting on Google's updates and working on their timeline.
#3 Amazon could do whatever they wanted if they purchased webOS outright. This is critical because with further customization of their own OS, Amazon would really be staking their claim to being the main competitor to Apple's iPad. Whatever future tablets Amazon decides to launch would also be in total sync with the OS.
#4 It can be had cheap. HP paid over a billion dollars for Palm in 2010, and given the slumping TouchPad sales, HP could be convinced to hand over webOS for probably less than half of that. With Kindle Fire sales expected to be high, Amazon could certainly afford it.
#5 Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the type of risk taker to pull if off. Being the first to do things like launch a sub $200 tablet are proof that Bezos can stand the scrutiny such a move always brings. Many people have certainly written off webOS, and an Amazon purchase would bring a chorus of what if's.