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LG at work on WebOS-based HDTV, report says

It's a bit of a surprise that LG is considering building a television platform on an operating system that was meant for mobile products. The process has not been without pitfalls.

This is how Open WebOS 1.0 looks on an HP desktop.
This is how Open WebOS 1.0 looks on an HP desktop.
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The the slow pendulum swing toward the smart TV is about to hit WebOS.

LG has teamed up with Gram, the organization established by HP to handle the WebOS project, to create a television that will be running on the open-source operating system, according to a new report from WebOS Nation. That blog reports that LG and Gram have been working closely for several months on the project.

The road to Gram has been a long and hard one for HP. In 2010, the company made the ill-advised decision to acquire Palm for $1.2 billion. After a few product launches -- including the HP Veer smartphone and TouchPad tablet -- turned customers away, HP quietly folded the operation.

Late last year, HP CEO Meg Whitman decided to open-source the operating system. Earlier this year, the company announced that the WebOS Project had been spun off into Gram. It also announced the first version of WebOS in beta.

That LG is considering building a television platform on an operating system that was built for mobile products is rather surprising. And according to WebOS Nation, the company has faced several pitfalls in developing the operating system, including getting apps onto the software. LG has reportedly used Enyo, an application development framework, to partner with developers and bring apps to the television, including Netflix.

The other issue, according to WebOS Nation, is WebOS' slow boot times. LG is reportedly considering leaving the computer behind the television running all the time, and only flipping the screen off when a user hits the "off" button. There's no telling how that might impact power consumption.

LG, like other manufacturers, is feeling the pressure of delivering integrated services with its televisions. Earlier this month, NPD reported that so-called Smart TVs, which offer apps and Web connections, have witnessed shipments rise 15 percent this year. Smart TV shipments are expected to rise over the next several years.

According to WebOS Nation, LG was choosing between WebOS and Google TV, a platform that launched in 2010, but never truly gained its footing. LG reportedly chose WebOS because of concerns over Google's desire to exercise some control over the look and feel of its television platform. With WebOS, LG has free rein to do what it wants.

So, when might the WebOS-based television launch? Look for it at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the report says.

CNET has contacted LG for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.