Palm’s webOS has made another return from the graveyard. After being left at the mercy of the community for over a year by Hewlett-Packard, which had acquired Palm in 2010 for $1.2 billion, webOS has found a new home. LG has acquired webOS from HP for an undisclosed sum.
The Korean electronics giant isn’t planning on using the mobile OS in smartphones. Instead, it will be adapting it for use in its popular smart TV range. LG was reported to be eyeing webOS for quite a while, after deciding against using Google TV over fears of Google imposed restrictions on the design and interface. LG’s purchase also includes all patents and employees of the webOS Global Business Unit.
Skott Ahn, president and chief technology officer of LG Electronics Inc, remarked, “It creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices”. It will be interesting to see how LG goes about porting an operating system designed for touch to the remote control operated big screen.
LG might not be the first name that pops into anyone’s mind when talking about smartphones, but they have a strong presence in the television market. While purchasing webOS outright is surprising, it’s not surprising that LG is looking to replace NetCast, its current smart TV platform. NetCast has served LG well, but it is showing signs of age, and with big names like Google and Apple preparing to double down on the smart TV market, LG needs to up its game. HP will also be happy to be able to get something in exchange of webOS. Palm’s webOS was once heralded as the brightest competitor to the iPhone’s operating system, but corporate inefficiency and idiocy never allowed it to realize its full potential. Even surviving as a smart TV platform is a sad fate for a genuinely innovative and intuitive operating system, but in LG’s hands, webOS will probably reach millions of more households than it ever did under its previous two owners.