WebOS Lives! LG Buys Platform from HP to Embed in Smart TVs
WebOS: From Palm Pre to HP to LG TVs.
Well, it’s back!
LG has acquired WebOS from HP, ostensibly to use in its smart TVs which already utilize LG’s own NetCast service as well as Google TV.
In the deal, reported by the Verge, LG picks up the source code, documentation, Websites and some of the old WebOS team. HP maintains patents and the WebOS app store technology.
“The result is a deal that looks like a clean exit from the webOS debacle for HP, and the beginnings of another muddled, confused chapter for Palm’s operating system with LG at the helm,” the Verge reports.
The Verge also highlights LG’s confusion about WebOS and how it compares to other similar service, including LG’s own.
When asked about it, LG CTO Dr. Skott Ahn “simply remained silent for 10 seconds, prompting LG’s North American VP of smart TV Samuel Chang to add that ‘we’re at the nascent stage” of smart TV development.’”
Apparently, all that LG could muster is that WebOS would be used in conjunction with Android and that WebOS is “better in user experience.”
What does this mean for Google TV?
LG had been moving forward with Google TV 3.0—another confused app platform—introducing at CES 2013 seven new TV models with the smart TV service. The new TVs add to LG’s two existing Google TV-enabled displays, available in 42- to 60-inch sizes.
GigaOm has a useful article on what the LG WebOS deal means for Google TV.
In a nutshell, the deal is “bad news for Google TV, but it also shows how Google’s living room play has been changing over recent months.”
Sony was the first to implement Google TV in its displays, but now is reverting to a settop box. Samsung was set to implement Google TV in 2012, but never did. And now LG has its own smart TV service.
Does that mean Google TV is doomed? Hardly. The platform has seen some significant adoption in recent months: Asus, Netgear, Hisense and TCL all showed off new Google TV devices at CES, and WD is apparently working on its own Google TV box as well. Earlier this month, a total of 20 hardware partners came together in Seoul to collaborate on the future of Google TV.
But it looks like Google TV settling into a role as a companion box solution, as opposed to a default smart TV choice for the big manufacturers.