WebOS has had more than a rough ride over the last couple of years, what debuted at a CES press event has gone from pillar to post. It's been sold to HP, it failed as a tablet OS and now it looks LG are hoping to have it fail as an OS for their smart TVs. Erm, I mean, succeed brilliantly! CNet are reporting that LG are to acquire the WebOS operating system from Hewlett-Packard, there's no price detailed but, it's probably not going to be much, is it?
LG have no intentions to use it in their smartphones but, instead hope to have WebOS running on Smart TVs that could be heading to your living room soon. This is very much a deal for WebOS itself, there are no real members of the original development team left at HP and as such, LG is buying code and that's about it really. The deal will give LG ownership of related WebOS websites, documentation and of course, the source code for WebOS. As well as this, LG obtains licenses and patents that HP obtained from the fledgling company, Palm, back in 2010 It's a bizarre situation for sure, as HP made a big deal – sort of – of Open Sourcing WebOS in the form of Open WebOS. The South Korean company has apparently been eyeing up WebOS for purchase for a while now, which is no surprise as there is a lot to be done with such a great foundation.
LG's President and Chief Technology Officer, Skott Ahn, had this to say concerning their new purchase: "It creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices,". That might leave it open for use in smartphones and tablets but I don't think LG are crazy enough to go that route. What they might do, however is to take a lot of the design elements and use them in their skin on top of Android.
So, WebOS has been shoehorned onto printers and now it's headed to TVs, it's a sad state of affairs for the once popular platform. LG have a good chance to make something decent for their Smart TVs however, WebOS was built to run lightweight applications and it makes a lot of sense to use it on a TV, after all the whole point is to connect them to the web. This is definitely the end of the WebOS we all knew and loved though, with LG more than likely gutting the code and building their OS on top of it.
Good luck to them I say, let's just hope they put a little more effort into it than HP did.