LG Buys the Corpse of webOS to Reanimate it for Smart TVs

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HP's delusions of grandeur

Remember webOS? HP just sold the beleaguered remains of webOS to LG. According to news reports LG plans to use it for smart TVs. In other words LG is going to give webOS a chance to fail in a third market (first 2 were smartphones and tablets), one which I don't expect to exist in 18 months.

This operating system was Palm's failed attempt to regain some market relevance when it was launched in 2009. HP then bought Palm on the strength of webOS, bungled the launch of new hardware running webOS (proving HP was even less competent at mobile devices). After the death of the Touchpad, webOS was supposed to be released as an open source OS some time in 2012 - but that never happened. so far as I can tell it hasn't gotten  much further than versions that will run on the Nexus 7 and on the Nexus 4.

Today's news hardly rates more than a footnote. Frankly, when there were no tablets running webOS at CES 2013 (like I expected) I assumed it was completely dead. Never mind that in late 2011 HP was still planning to release another tablet running webOS; without widespread adoption webOS was DOA.

About Nate Hoffelder (11394 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

12 Comments on LG Buys the Corpse of webOS to Reanimate it for Smart TVs

  1. “After the death of the Touchpad, webOS was supposed to be released as an open source OS some time in 2012 – but that never happened.”

    Huh? Open WebOs has been around for a few months now.

  2. .. for smart TVs. … third market, one which I don’t expect to exist in 18 months.

    Nate can you please elaborate?
    It seems you don’t believe in smart TV idea.

    Myself, think it’s what will kill PC for home user.

    • Google TV has so far been a spectacular failure is probably why he thinks that. And I agree. Apple TV is a separate box. Smart TVs — like 3D TV — have yet to gain any real foothold among the general public. The closest thing has been Apple TV and Roku and things like that which are, again, a separate box (or stick). The display lives the longest. All in One PCs are a bad deal because the display can last up to ten years while the computer guts can become obsolete in less than just three years. The same threat looms over Smart TVs too. It’s cheaper to buy a new box or stick — that kind of hardware keeps dropping in price relative to power — than buy a new big TV.

    • I expect smart TVs to go in the other direction. I think they will end up as little more that dumb terminals. Their total processing ability will be just enough that a smart TV will be able to connect to and act as a monitor for your computer.

      What you are proposing is little more than an all-in-one PC writ large. That particular type of computer has not had much success, and even the 30″ or larger models have not had much success in the living room.

      Tell me, do you really want to have to replace your PC every time you upgrade the monitor and vice versa? I like that the components are separate.

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