WebOS lives! LG to resurrect it for smart TVs

LG acquires the troubled mobile operating system from Hewlett-Packard, getting software, engineering talent, and HP licenses acquired from Palm.

WebOS gets another shot at life thanks to LG Electronics.

LG logo

LG is acquiring WebOS from Hewlett-Packard, with the intention to use the operating system not for its mobile phones, but in its smart televisions. With the deal, LG obtains the source code for WebOS, related documentation, engineering talent, and related WebOS Web sites. LG also gets HP licenses for use with its WebOS products, and patents HP obtained from Palm. The financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

The acquisition marks the end of a sad chapter of WebOS, an operating system that many saw promise in, but was badly mismanaged by HP. Initially hailed as the potential savior of Palm, it was seemingly bailed out by HP before it quickly pulled the plug on its mobile initiative last year. Its mobile products, including a revamped Pre and the infamous TouchPad tablet.

LG has no intent to use WebOS for its smartphones, with the company largely focused on Android as its mobile operating system of choice. Indeed, much of the WebOS team members that work on the various mobile products at HP has already left, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Many predicted the death of WebOS after HP opted to dump it into the open-source graveyard. Despite claims of continued support by the company, it was essentially left for dead.

Instead, LG will use WebOS to power its future televisions. The deal isn't a complete surprise, with LG already reportedly looking at the platform for use in its products. In fact, the company had been eying WebOS for a while.

"It creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices," said Skott Ahn, president and chief technology officer of LG Electronics Inc.

LG said the WebOS team will make up the "heart and soul" of the new LG Silicon Valley Lab, with its Sunnyvale, Calif., and San Francisco sites joining LG's global R&D locations in the Valley, alongside WebOS offices in San Jose and Chicago.

Good news for Palm users: LG said it would continue to support them.

 

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