LG purchasing HP's webOS division, licensing webOS for smart TVs | webOS Nation
 
 

LG purchasing HP's webOS division, licensing webOS for smart TVs 64

by Derek Kessler Mon, 25 Feb 2013 6:41 am EST

LG purchasing HP webOS division, licensing webOS

According to a report this morning from CNET that has since been pulled (though we have independently verified) LG is purchasing the webOS Global Business Unit from HP, including all of its patents, employees, and source code. This news follows our exclusive report in October that LG was working with HP to develop a webOS-powered smart TV. Our sources tell us that LG now anticipates launching their first webOS-powered HDTV at CES 2014.

Palm, and by extension webOS, was purchased by HP just under three years ago for $1.2 billion, invested billions in launching new hardware and expanding the reach of webOS to PCs, and then abruptly cancelled hardware development before ultimately opting to open source the operating system.

Those joining LG will be positioned under the office of LG CTO President and CEO Skott Ahn and not as part of the television group. The arrangement might be similar to that the webOS GBU was put under in 2010, when they were slotted under HP's Office of Strategy and Technology incubator while the decision of what exactly to do with the OS was being made.

The end goal of LG buying webOS like this is the same as their partnership from last year: to make a webOS-powered television to replace LG's aging NetCast smart TV platform. We and CNET have seen no indication that LG intends to use webOS to supplement their Android smartphone business, though with LG coming in at fifth place in the global smartphone share rankings with less than five percent market share, nothing's impossible. LG at the very least has the experience and manpower in mobile they would need to bring webOS up to modern standards.

That said, as much as we would love to see webOS for mobile from LG, we doubt that's going to happen. With LG snapping up the majority of HP's webOS programming talent and dedicating it to their smart television endeavours, we would be shocked to see webOS hit LG's other endeavours. Even in fifth place, LG's managed to sell more Android smartphones and than HP did webOS devices.

Though, there might be some hope for other webos-powered LG products, as CNET quotes Ahn as saying "It creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices." Read into that what you will, but don't put too much of your money on LG webOS smartphones and tablets.

We also would be surprised to see webOS as we know it come from anybody else to mobile. While HP might technically still own the operating system and the code has been fully committed to open source, without the resources of the webOS GBU to assist third parties in the development of webOS hardware (as they did with LG) it's just not all that likely a third party is going to produce webOS hardware. Granted, it wasn't all that likely before, now it's just less so. We still hope that the soon-to-be-LG employees of the webOS GBU will still be assisting the WebOS Ports team in their own efforts to bring Open webOS to more hardware.

Those of you with webOS devices, though, CNET says that LG will continue with HP's support commitments, though we have to wonder how long that will last - it's been 18 months since the last webOS device sales, and there's HP's homebrew connections to look after as well.

We have reached out to both LG and HP and are awaiting comment.

Source: CNET (cached)

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64 Comments

Big news and ironic timing after HP announces its own android tablet. LG can't be worse than HP as an owner and LG wants a US footprint if only because Samsung has a silicon valley office. At least LG has deep pockets unlike HP which struggling to right itself after bad investments. I'm sure LGs focus will be on tvs first, then maybe tablets if that does well. This could be LG's hedge against relying too much on Google. Just hope LG doesn't pull the plug on webOS servers. May have to dust off webos internals armageddon plans.

And so the saga continues!

Palm, founded by a gang of three to create handwriting recognition software, created the PDA, bought out by US Robotics, which turned into 3Com, the founders left to start up Handspring, spun off into its own company with an IPO, bought out BeOS, spun off Palm OS with PalmSource (later to be sold to Access), merged with Handspring to become palmOne, renamed to Palm, funded by Elevation Partners with a certain rock star founder, sold to HP, spun off as Gram...

...and now sold to LG.

Great summary, I wasn't aware of all that. Gives me matter for studying...

Palm is one of those companies that seems to fall through to the next level every time it appears to die. I wonder why they're passed around so much, though. Maybe in the next century we'll see them go to each major electronics manufacturer.

Interesting.....remind me more and more of the AmigaOS back in the 1990s/early 2000s....advance/best operating system at the time....actually very good hardware(initially)...bad company management.....

Well, I guess I will just wait and see....I seems to pick the best horse but at the wrong race.....

o.0

Indeed, this looks scaringly like the Amiga curse. You can only hope this time we are lucky.

LG could use webOS for what it's best: User interface. Man, I fiddled the other day with a recent Android 4.0 phone and yikes, it's still a pain. You can get used to it, of course, but its totally unfriendly.

webOS could be what Sense is for HTC. Only more, because of other great ideas like Synergy. webOS has to me more than a "skin over Android". In the other hand, if it was just that, nobody would say again "webOS has no apps!".

Now I realize I'm sutubbornly talking about mobile phones, and LG's plans are for a TV. And webOS has nothing to offer to a TV... Oh well, maybe LG just bought it on the cheap for the patents, and will immediately piss all over it.

In any case, good luck to all, and may this bring more relevance that, thanks to the Open Source Team, there's still hope for this little operating system, free from being battered to death by corporations.

still seems weird to me that they would aquire webOS for a tv of all thigns when webOS doesnt have any native tv functions, unlike android/hdmi output etc, and their already well versed in using android.

add to that is the fact that the bulk of webOS is for a touchscreen device, again seems weird for a tv, unless their just somehow gutting the innards to produce something that can "card" apps and be controlled via a remote instead of touch.

would be funny if they did actually use webOS cards, got a workign android in a card setup and did everything we wanted for so long but had all thsi on a tv instead of tablet/phone.

weird.

I know, have a button on the remote for the up gesture. That seems the only gesture shipped with 3.x, so having a button covers both home and throwing card away.

I wonder what they'd do for the notification LED, though.

Totally agree.

I think TV is a cover story.
Because it doesn't make much sense.
TV doesn't need that much UI. Even if you make it a modern smart-tv with youtube and stuff.

And enyo/open webos is available for free. And at the end of the day they just need some html stuff and a browser engine for even a smart-tv.

Anyway - I'm sure LG will produce more webos products and sooner (on whatever hardware) than HP will (in HPs case that number is None).

Well, goodbye to HP and Meg! They can walk away and pretend this never happened. At least I can stop seeing her face on the website whenever she doesn't mention webos anymore!

LG brought WebOS for there SmartTVs ; not for smartphones, not for tablets! The best we can hope for is a minimal WebOS skin for Android phones and tablets. The main reason for this that WebOS will only be a skin is because WebOS does not have the amount of apps that iOS and Android have. The reason for the skin being minimal skin is the time it will take to up with Android version changes.

"LG brought WebOS for there SmartTVs ; not for smartphones, not for tablets!"

Granted but... How can they make such a thing sound sensible?

Sometimes, I'm honestly intrigued.

It's time for LG to bundle a webos tablet with a tv as a multifunction remote control. Right there they've got an instant edge on the competition and they've got a great way for people to interact with their TV. They should also update their old Netcast so that folks can buy a webos tablet as a new remote for those TVs. Just my 2 cents!

I'm done with WebOS after this move - Farewell WebOS, onto Android...

Oh, c'mon man... Just how BORING is that? :-D

Did that 15 months ago. Don't listen to the whiners; you will be amazed by the hardware and find that for every one thing you CAN'T do, there are five that you CAN do (which you couldn't under WebOS). Are the cards nice? Sure. I do miss that. But, that is about it. There are several great task switching apps to choose from, to assist you with your multi-tasking.

The only thing you have to worry about is a bruised bottom, because you'll be kicking yourself if the rear, saying "Why didn't I do this SOONER???"!

Interesting - because I bought a Nexus 7 a few months ago.
Can't wait to put webos on it.

It's a great tablet hardware-wise. And best ever bang-for-the-buck.
And Android is OK.

But I find that I only actually use a very few apps.
Give me EMail, Youtube and a browser - throw in a few tools and a couple of good enough games (some tower defense or some much - the stuff that is available on webos would suffice).

Using Android on the N7 only reminds me how far ahead webos was and partly still is.
Sure with regards to apps webos can't compete (though as I said above - I don't use 99.99999% of it). But the OS itself is still better.

Yeah, and I have a touchpad that NEVER gets booted into webos any more. I'm just not willing to spend five years of my life hanging on to a thread that "someday, you'll all see we were right!" I, too, believed that WebOS was superior to anything available when it came out, three years ago. However, the lines are so blurred, now, that it is insignificant what Android can't do, and it IS significant what Android CAN do, that WebOS never could.

For the life of me, I wish Google had purchased Palm. All of the great pieces would have been incorporated in total, by now. Sadly, smartly, they were unwilling to spend $1.2B on a dying company. Only fools would do that; take your bows, Leo!

Hopefully, those who ARE still clinging to WebOS will find good news in this latest acquisition. I would say it can't get any worse, but unfortunately, yes it can.

I am completely with you TimmyB44. I had a Palm device going back to the 90’s with my Palm Vx. I bought the Sprint Palm Pre- when it was introduced the 1st week of June 2009. I loved (and still do...but less & less) webOS. The hardware was very cheaply made from the start though and I was unimpressed by Palm’s (Ruby’s) battles with Apple. I love webOSand the Pre enough though to be MrPre on Precentral.com (remember that url?). But with the fortunes of Palm turning for the worse, I got off the Palm ship in June 2010 wnen the HTC Evo 4G came out (Sprint’s 1st 4G WiMAX phone). Although I missed my Pre like an old girlfriend, I still got to play around with it to get my webOS fan boy fix on my wife’s Pre. My EVO was sturdy as hell and the only problem was a faulty USB cable connection (notorious for the 1st gen EVO), so I had to replace it using $100 insurance after a year. Meanwhile we went throught about 6 Pre’s in 2 years...again, absolutely HORRIBLE build quality. There almost should have been a class-action lawsuit.

By a weird twist of fate I ended up with an LG phone in Sept 2012. I decided NOT to get the Samsung SIII, since I had the large EVO for over 2 years and I wanted a smaller Pre-sized phone. So, I got an LG Viper 4G LTE (Sprint's 1st 4G LTE phone). My wife got the LG Viper in July 2012 and I got to try it out and liked it.

I have rooted all phones many times but at this time I am just back to stock ICS Android and the phone is fine for me. Not great but light years ahead of any Pre.

I also have 4 rooted HP TouchPads (3for my family and 1 for my sister in law) and I only log in to WebOS about once every 2 or 3 months just to see if there are any new miraculous changes. I see now that updates are almost non-existant.

I am a realist and I wish no malice toward anyone running any operating system. Everyone is different but for me, and obviously TimmyB44, we haved moved on as reality has set in.

Timmy,

Just to be clear Leo didn't spend 1.2B on what would have been a successful OS had he not been determined to kill it, and had the board of directors not been set on getting Hurd to resign after his little "issue", then giving Leo the reigns to the company. ;)

It's time to get used to not saying HPalm but LGram.

Well...there are at least two positive things (for the moment): 1. the patents weren't sold to Google or Apple (neither company would have made good use of them imo), and 2. there was clearly no future for webOS at HP so anything is better for our beloved zombie/phoenix.

Hooray! Now I can stop caring about HP flushing their company down the toilet.

I go back to the Handspring days on these forums, and this is probably the end for webOS on any mobile devices or tablets in any meaningful way (no offense to the Ports team). My Touchpad is fine for another year or so, but really, the advantages of webOS vs iOS or Android are minimal at this point. webOS would have made a nice HP printer interface for my HP Officejet 8600. I will mourn the slow death of webOS, but the corporate world already embraces iOS and Android. I think Blackberry is dying a worse death. webOS is the Sony Betamax of operating systems. Better, it was, but poorly marketed.

I feel the same way about Palm and WebOS, but I honestly have a real interest in the new Blackberry. I think there is room for more than two mobile platforms. And the Z10 shows promise.

Well this definitely explains it.

It just won't die.

And I love it.

This can't be worse than the past year. But, I am hesitant and anxious to hear from LG about their plans.

Does this mean they've bought the Enyo team too?

Now all those things that weren't making sense, make sense. The adventure continues...

I still like my TouchPad! :)

What is the future of GRAM?

None.

WebOS in 3d cool....

WEBOS IS SAVED!!!

If the article was pulled, LG isn't ready. Details might change. And what company really releases all it's true goals in a public announcement? They wouldn't want competitors to know their real long term goals. We won't really know what LG really wants WebOS and all the Palm patents for regardless of what any public announcement might say. It seems to me a TV's menu interface isn't even close to needing the complexity of a smartphone OS unless broader goals are also in mind. Manufacturers who install Android pay royalties to Microsoft, have to deal with the "who's responsible" problem when updates to the OS are desired on existing hardware, and whether / how to make a brand specific user friendly user interface, among other things. Maybe LG doesn't like all that work for a "me too" and wants their own OS. Maybe after using it for TV's and associated devices (refrigerators, washing machines?) they'll be working on running WebOS, WebOS on Ubuntu, or WebOS with something else like Android as "dual-boot", for their own phones and tablets. Some of LG's TV models and other products have had different features than everyone else, helping them carve their own niche. In today's economy, many large companies (like HP) are running from risk. That may leave more opportunity for differentiation that LG alone recognizes as a risk worth taking. At least we can hope.

so... how many of you guys are going to rush to buy an LG smartTV just because it has webOS? will it make your TV-experience any better?

Seems as though LG do like TVS and phones to play well together:
http://www.stuff.tv/news/mwc/news-nugget/lg-unveils-phone-to-tv-4k-video...

I can't wait to get the first info on the LG SmartTV. How will it be leaked to the world? Will one developer forget his developing TV on a counter of a bar next to a journalist? Time will tell.

Back to webOS: It couldn't be more lost and wasted than with HP, which did not have interest in it anymore. So any change can only be good for WebOS, even if it probably will not develop into what we all hoped or even if it comes to a final death.

Thanks for the ride webOS! Hoping to have you dual bootable on my GalNex one day.

I just hope that they will publish a phone with webos out before I buy the phone with ubuntu, pleaseeeeeeeeee......

Hmm, and what did LG pay for this? $1 million dollars (with little finger in the corner of their mouths like Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies)?

What happens to open webOS and Enyo? How many people currently working on Enyo will stay on for a third company? Ben Combee has been jerked around enough, I wonder if he'll stick around or look for more stability somewhere else.
 
So many questions.

I guess this means that the "webOS Nation" is now the Republic of Korea! Will my Pre and TouchPad now be doing it Gangnam Style?

I don't think they will limit their use of webos to just their tvs...
I can see an lg refrigerator with webos in their future.
really i do.

And don't forget the beloved toaster :-)

I wonder why Google couldnt make this deal happen. Imagine Google with WebOS and the whole Palm portfolio? And Matias could be reunited with his creation. Implementing some of the WebOS features in Android would rule! And they could license it out like they do Android.

Seriously, as an OS, WebOS is far superior to anything out there. Android teamed with WebOS would have been like Voltron coming together.

seriously... maybe three years ago... webos could argue being superior to anything out there... or at least there could be an aurgument.

do you realize there are features you can do on an android or even ios that you still can't do on a webos phone and refuse to acknowledge because you dont want to give up your card flicking?!
i flick away tabbed pages on my chrome browser on android... it's a neat visual.. i'm over it lol.

webos style ui might be a neat feature on an android... but it would be nothing more than a skin you can add on top of android. like putting ubuntu style features on an android.

but technically, webos is not superior to android... or ios...

too many years have gone by with zero improvements on webos while the other have.

Notifications still better.
Synergy still better.
Multi-tasking/cards/UI still much better.
Just-type still better.

I love the hardware and form factor of my N7 - but the OS was and still is a downgrade from webos.
Sure Android is far far far ahead with apps. But I find that almost all the apps that I *actually* use are available on webos (youtube, email, browser, google maps, a few games and tools).

YMMV

donm527 - you're talking out of your a$$ if the entire android app catalog could be forked to webos, which device would you choose to own?

apps are not the os. on equal terms w/o apps, webos is superior to android.

i understand apps is not os... you can put many apps that run on android to windows or blackberry and it wont be better than on android or ios.

on equal terms without apps... well that will never happen... cause we're talking an os that hasnt had updates over a year i guess? with features still lacking over android... and on hardware that you could compare to an iphone 3gs... against jelly bean 4.22 and the latest hardware. just saying... things work better on android now than the outdated stuff youre working on. and same app on the two platforms... right now... i guess it would work out better on android.

funny how I Actually do more on my webOS devices than most do on there unlimited devices.....

its not what your device can do its what your willing to do with your device

I can see good things coming from LG-webOS

well... peope dont realize how much more they can do... when given more features to implement.

people could say all day when iphone didnt have cut and paste that they didnt need it. after they got it they realize just how useful it was.

Only ios-apologists ever claimed that copy-paste wasn't needed.

IOS is pathetically behind. Notifications were terible for the longest time and still ain't that great.
Multi-tasking is pathetic.
UI interactios is OK but way behind webos or Android.

With the Palm patent portfolio (The Original Smart Phone Patent ) they now have major protection from any Crapple BS!

I have to disagree with you donm527. I got an ipad for xmas (wife gave it to me) and while some of the apps have been great to have (as a musician the music related apps are hard to beat) I can't help but feel the whole iOS experience is pretty bland and often frustrating. I often find things faster on my phone than I do with iOS and the whole integration with itunes is just plain ludicrous. I often catch myself thinking 'oh I bet I can do this' only tofind out that I've got to buy yet another app to do that. Even simple things like getting a wave file into garage band means installing that bloated anchor of a program (itunes) on my pc as there isn't another way to get music into that program. I don't know, so far can't say I'm an iOS lover.

I would like to know Joe Rubinstein's opinion on this.

I'd be more interested in Jon's opinion, but that's just me... =)

...the main "make it or break it " question is: when these new TVs will be available on Sprint????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

And another one: how about a webOS printer now, HP????????????????????????????????????????????

couple of things i did not see mentioned:

1 - the 'apple tv rumour' - this is a great thing for LG to have the webOS on their TVs - giving that if Apple does a os for their TV it *may* likely be similar to iOS - which is clunky as Android in my opinion.

2. I always thought that if Meg was handed (even an ancient) webOS phone and used it for about a week and learned to use the os, she would 'see' its synergy - it really is hard for a person to understand the fluidity of things sometimes without actually using the item....

3. LG is a sharp company and is really into technology across the board - just look at their appliance page
or their phone page

so putting webOS on their TV i think is a shot across the bow for TV - but after that experience, it would NOT be so surprising they then integrate that with a tablet, and then eventually a phone.

Guaranteed - if their TV in 2014 (which really is right on top of us, because they will want to be able to SELL those things - LG is not a company that's into vaporware) is a 'wow' and successful - they will expand the use of webOS.

This comment is the closest thing to what I expected.
Yes, LG is not a dumb company, but is a very technology-oriented company with more than 50 years history and trying to make a "real" customer values (sometimes, it is too much and too straight-forward which makes a fail though), and we are seriesly trying to change our culture to what is a "standard" to IT and software world. I think we are almost ready and have tried to find out the final piece of the puzzle.
I am sure we can contribute the best to webOS eco-system, and I hope webOS and its eco-system will be the final piece to LG's products.
- an LG SW guy.

Awesome, with LG behind the wheel it wont end with webOS Toaster.

http://www.gizmodiva.com/entry_images/0408/24/lg-toaster-oven-combo.jpg

And I was just liking the "Gram" name when I read that it was some kind of ancient magic Norse sword!

i just took a full minute to stare at that headline image above: a simulation of the "webOS tv" that's been whispered about for a long time now.

scroll up n' look at that thing, and imagine a 45" TouchPad mounted on the wall in your house.
imagine it having your phone service tied in, google chat tied in, emails tied in, all giving you updates in real-time. think about the TouchPad-style announcement bar that drops in from above on the TP. Imagine it on that tv above. You'd see it, but it wouldn't be intrusive to your program. you could swipe it away with a hand gesture if it had a Wii-style motion reader. .

you could touch and swipe anything on the screen just like webOS gestures, if it had a motion reader. the reader might have to be linked to a tiny remote (think: "air mouse") to filter out other motion, but w/e, the tech exists.

now imagine just like that image above, changing channels and previewing each show in a webOS card. horizontally opposed of course. scroll thru the channels, rearrange the channel line up, group some together in card stacks; or gesture to 'tap' the globe icon and open a web browser, picture-in-picture style. tap the envelope to check email, etc.

webOS would totally work as a foundation for a smart-tv-super-monitor-multimedia-communication station. heck, with bluetooth tech, you could have the tv pair to your headset when you walked in the house, and dispatch family phone calls by headset identity. everyone could log into their wifi-calling acct. and just have calls forward thru their tv if they were home while their phone charges.

basically, the tv would replace the 'home computer' as the 'home tablet', but a giant one on the wall of course.

webOS could enable all that.

- as long as you're ok with your tv watching YOU. hehehe