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WebOS Lives! LG Buys Platform from HP to Embed in Smart TVs

HP acquires WebOS smartphone service from Palm, gives up on it, finally sells it to LG for implementation into smart TVs. What does it mean for Google TV?

WebOS: From Palm Pre to HP to LG TVs.
Julie Jacobson · February 26, 2013

Remember that WebOS platform that Palm invented and HP acquired for implementation into smartphones that turned into an open-source project that had no apps, so was finally abandoned?

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.

Strange indeed.

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.

From GigaOm:

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.

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

News · Google · LG · Smart TV · webOS · All Topics
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