LG acquires webOS from Hewlett-Packard

A HP TouchPad with webOS on a Touchstone
A HP TouchPad with webOS on a Touchstone

LG has reached an agreement with Hewlett-Packard for the acquisition of the webOS operating system for an amount of money that hasn’t been disclosed. LG will use webOS in its new line of Smart TVs and will assume stewardship of the projects Open webOS and Enyo, the cross-platform JavaScript framework used to write applications that work on different mobile devices and browsers.

More details about the deal will be released later in the financial agreement. Right now we know that LG has purchased the sources and the intellectual property of webOS, all its documentation and the websites associated with the operating system and also the engineers who have followed its development.

For Hewlett-Packard it really seems the epilogue of the failure of the tablet TouchPad (photo ©Tom Raftery). HP seemed determined to try again announcing the development of an open source version of the webOS operating system to avoid throwing away the $1.2 billion paid at the time to buy Palm, the company that created it.

Since the debacle of the TouchPad tablet there were doubts about the possibility for Hewlett-Packard to offer successful mobile devices with webOS or Open webOS. Recent rumors of a move to Android, confirmed by the announcement from a few days ago of the launch of the HP Slate tablet 7 with Android 4.1, ratified HP’s decision to give up on its operating system.

Clearly, the conclusion of the sale of webOS to LG was only a formality. LG had already shown the ambitions of its new Smart TVs last month showing at CES 2013 a 82″ 4K model and a 55″ OLED model. The company has shown it wants to build a digital home where the Smart TV applications can use smartphones and NFC (Near Field Communication) applications that use a technology that provides bi-directional short-range wireless connectivity to coordinate their operations.

With the acquisition of webOS, LG has an operating system ready to run its new Smart TVs. Samsung, LG’s main competitor, is already using Linux for its Smart TVs so it makes sense that LG has followed that path by purchasing an operating system built around the Linux kernel. Will this be the right time for webOS to finally be successful?

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