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


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.

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flyingtoastr February 25, 2013 um 11:45 am

"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.

Nate Hoffelder February 25, 2013 um 11:49 am

Did anyone release a version running on a device? From what I can tell Open webOS got as far as running test builds on some hardware, not any actual final releases. Did I miss something?

flyingtoastr February 25, 2013 um 12:11 pm

It’s in a final release (1.0), meaning the OS is fully operational. You are correct that no one as of yet has produced any devices specifically for it though.

Nate Hoffelder February 25, 2013 um 5:41 pm

Actually, my post was wrong. There is a Nexus 7 port. that’s something, at least.

Mike Cane February 25, 2013 um 8:26 pm

And Nexus 4 too. Keep up.

Nate Hoffelder February 25, 2013 um 8:30 pm

How did I miss that? D’oh!

Igor Borski February 26, 2013 um 6:15 am

.. 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.

Mike Cane February 26, 2013 um 6:40 am

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.

Nate Hoffelder February 26, 2013 um 7:09 am

What Mike said.

fjtorres February 26, 2013 um 7:14 am

A lot of the SmartTV functionality is available in BluRay Players, Home theater Receivers, and gaming consoles. Nothing an AppleTV or GoogleTV can do can’t be done better with an XBOX or Playstation. And there’s news generations coming.
Worse, there is a new product category emerging: the Android STB.
Smansung just announced theirs.
Some are even more optimized for the living room, like this interestiing toy:

You just clip it atop any TV and plug it into the HDMI port.
Instant SmartTV.
Can even turn your TV into an ebook reader. 😉

fjtorres February 26, 2013 um 7:18 am

Samsung just introduced *their* android STB.
Might as well link to it:

Anyway, the reason AppleTV is a dud and why there is no AppleTV just yet is that there are better ways to go already out there. (Like 72 milllion XBOXes and 70 million PS3s).

Nate Hoffelder February 26, 2013 um 6:59 am

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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