This week at Samsung's Galaxy S II announcement event in New York City, Vice President of Samsung's Consumer & Enterprise Services Gavin Kim spoke briefly with SlashGear on a couple of rather relevant subjects: Samsung's future with webOS (or lack thereof) and the future of the Galaxy S II in the USA. Having a keen sense of what the press and the public might have a wild heyday with as far as official statements go, Kim refrained from making any breaking fact drops or, as I might call it, Electropolitical gaffes. Instead Kim reinforced our already strong faith in the Samsung Telecommunications brand by noting that it was the market that decided where Samsung would make its next set of moves.
While there were certainly no mentions of the HP / Palm / soon to be anyone's game mobile operating system webOS in the main set of presentations at the Android-centric Samsung Galaxy S II event this week, the press attending the event certainly had the very recently and suddenly newsworthy OS on their minds and on their lips. More than one conversation outside the event while waiting for the epic gigantic metal Samsung panel to open and let the press in centered around the perhaps now defunct (yet again, surprisingly popular suddenly) HP TouchPad and its webOS operating system - of course each of these conversations then led to talks of how soon each of the obvious TouchPad owners would be getting Android loaded aboard via hacks of many kinds.
After the Galaxy S II announcements, SlashGear (via your humble narrator) spoke briefly with Kim about the new Android devices, congratulating him on his excellent presentation of their new features. [Editor's note: Check out our video of this presentation to see the skills.] As a question about whether or not Samsung planned to take part in the future possibility of licensing webOS for use on new hardware, Kim assured us that while he could not react or speculate on webOS, especially since it's, as he noted, "not my team, not what I do", he did note that, as we should know and remember,
"With Samsung it's always been a publicly stated strategy for Samsung that we will support any operating system that the market expects us to deliver." - Gavin Kim, Samsung Vice President - Consumer & Enterprise Services
In other words, and of course the following sentence is purely speculation on my part, Samsung will support webOS if webOS becomes a viable option for Samsung to support. For example, if the recent fire sale of HP TouchPads actually did result in a completely sold-out set of warehouses for HP and the owners of said tablets start wishing for the expansion of the webOS mobile operating system, you can bet your hat Samsung (and whichever other kindhearted manufacturer(s) that decide to heed the call) will be there to work with consumers to bring them what they want.
Of course since the day we spoke with Kim, Samsung CEO Choi Gee Sung has stamped out rumors of Samsung right-out purchasing HP's webOS platform, saying Samsung would "never" pursue such a deal. Instead Choi noted the following:
“It’s not right that acquiring an operating system is becoming a fashion. [We're working on our own operating system Bada] harder than people outside think.” -Choi Gee Sung at IFA 2011 in Berlin
As far as the Galaxy S II lineup went, on a wholly different subject here with Android mobile OS once again in NYC, Kim reacted in a very similar way to when he addressed the webOS situation. We asked Kim whether or not the Samsung Galaxy S II line would expand in the same way the original Galaxy S line expanded with, for example, the Samsung Continuum, a device branded with the Galaxy S logo on the back but given a separate name for sales at Verizon due to its unique nature, (having 2 displays, for starters). Kim let us know that he couldn't comment on such things other than to say that what we saw in the presentation was the full extent of the Galaxy S II model in the USA.
Kim's response, again in my speculative view of course, makes us believe that, first of all, Verizon will not be getting a Galaxy S II model as it exists today on the other three top carriers in the United States. What's left open, on the other hand, is a nearly infinite array of other names the Samsung brand could tac on to future devices, not necessarily holding the Galaxy S II brand logo, but having similar functionality and features in the future. As the Galaxy S II is likely to elicit a positive response from the USA as it launches across the country, we would expect that Samsung's future releases would follow the gadget evolution line and grow with the punches.