LG turning to Firefox OS for developing markets, whither webOS? | webOS Nation
 
 

LG turning to Firefox OS for developing markets, whither webOS? 29

by Derek Kessler Tue, 09 Apr 2013 8:55 pm EDT

LG turning to Firefox OS for developing markets, whither webOS?

Oh, LG.

You own outright a perfectly good mobile operating system with years of development behind it and small but active and supportive open source and developer communities. We can understand still running with Android for your flagship smartphones for now - it's helping pay the bills and all. And we can understand that you're dedicated to putting webOS on your smart TVs and maybe other stuff later on, but we're having trouble wrapping our heads around this one… Firefox OS. Really, guys?

Don't get us wrong, Firefox OS looks to be a potentially fine operating system, but it's starting from scratch. New webOS hardware might essentially be starting from scratch as far as developer support and consumer awareness are concerned, but it's had four solid years of development to get it where it is. webOS is proven to work, in spite of the lackluster advertising campaigns and gross corporate neglect and mismanagement.

So LG's going forward with Firefox OS, but in keeping with the low-power hardware intentions behind the building of Firefox OS, the company plans to launch in South America by the middle of the year and eventually expand to Eastern Europe. A company spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that "LG's planned launch of Firefox phones is a means to meet diversifying consumer needs, but this doesn't indicate any shift away from Android."

Firefox OS' low-power model means cheaper handsets, which is appealing in less wealthy countries like those LG's targeting. Cheaper smartphones like old BlackBerry models and Symbian handsets have flourished in these markets while the powerful hardware needed to run the likes of iOS, Android, and Windows Phone hasn't found much traction thanks to the increased price of such hardware.

We know nobody's looking for proof that LG's not planning on making new webOS smartphones any time soon, but this certainly won't help anybody's case in the matter. Android will continue to occupy the high end of LG's smartphone business, while Firefox OS is set to take the low end in developing markets. It's a niche that webOS could potentially fill - these are customers that aren't aware of the drama that's surrounded webOS for for much of its existence, nor would we expect them to care. It just has to work, and that's something we know webOS to do (albeit it at this point it could stand to be polished and updated a bit to modern standards).

Maybe there's a slot somewhere in the middle that webOS can occupy…

Source: The Wall Street Journal; Image Source: Digital Trends

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29 Comments

Eh, oh well...

We should be used to bad news by now. After going through this whole webOS saga, I think I may be immune to disappointment.

I'm not sure I am phased or care... I am hoping to shove Open webOS on a BLU Product's Life View phone and run (just wish it had LTE). Too bad I don't own the Palm trademark and its other trademarks (like Treo or Tungsten). It'd be great to see them put to good use again. :)

GLIB GLOBBIT!!! LG is being such a biggledeboo! (Biggledeboo is a made up word)

This is something that was already expected, because LG is open to proof other OS and also was previously announced.

For sure it will take some time to launch a new WebOS Smartphone, in the meanwhile I enjoy my gadgets as much as I can,

Long Live WebOS!!!!

Still hoping LG has big plans and is keeping them secret until they are ready for a full launch on numerous devices all at once.

man I could care less open webos can run on anything I want it to run on a smart phone dont care too much for a tv although i woulda boaght it but than again I prefer a phone plus lg isinnt such a big brand after all Im sure everyone would agree with me on that plus I know lg will be boaght soon I mean a company that has lots of revenue would go for webos no questions asked but they dont so they have to think wise before investing on anything so I undestand I mean lg hasent come up with anything big ever this was their chance and they missed it ho well

ho my god who would buy a firefox phone it better be good thats all I have to say and webos has raised the bar preatty high

webOS runs fast and fluid on my Pre 3, even impressed iPhone users with it. Not sure about low-powered but it at least runs good enough on dual-core. And then again, you're quite stupid for not even thinking that LG couldn't optimize webOS very easily to make it run even smoother.

...sure, it is "very easy" to optimize webOS to "run smoothly on less powerfull devices", that's why it hasn't been done yet, right?

it's a marathon, not a sprint?

I have been running for 4 years! Surely there is a finish line somewhere up ahead?

Keep running.

Feet, don't fail me now!

many fingers in many pies, cant fault em tbh.

Man, I agree 100% with Derek. Firefox over a somewhat mature, well praised webOS, that they have just bought for their TV?! Come on!
Now, I'm hoping they are "adjusting" webOS for a future_strong_well-done LG webOS smartphone (as someone said before). One can dream, right? Still...

I can't say I'm the least bit surprised here.
 
1. LG gets to offer low-priced devices that run well and have growing carrier support.
2. They don't have to pay an Android tax.
3. They have a new app market available with growing support.
4. Websites that use the WebAPI effectively become "apps" when visited by Firefox OS phones
5. For that matter, the platform actually has a well-written and documented API--to nearly an academic level.
6. The platform supports Enyo, an LG-owned effort, thanks to Jason Robitaille (announced recently on Mozilla's blog by the man himself, in fact)
7. They aren't on the hook for technical ongoing support of Firefox OS like they would be with webOS
8. They don't end up blowing hundreds of millions of dollars throwing something on the street with an OS they're still trying to figure out, knowing since they own the OS, they'd be responsible for every aspect of its support once it's released
9a. Google recently ditching Webkit (along with Opera) is going to have major impact on Webkit's viable future with only Apple remaining as the last major contributing steward (among many, much smaller activity groups with other manufacturers); Google's activity dwarfed all others on the Webkit project for a while now until the announcement. Makes sense to diversify to an OS with a rock-solid browser engine with clockwork updates.
9b. Technically, between Android (Blink) and Firefox OS (Gecko), this makes LG's efforts Webkit-free. webOS is now weirdly an odd-man-out here.
10. Open webOS is completely unproven on low-spec devices like those Firefox OS was optimized to run on
 
Additionally, the OS itself is completely supported by its founding organization as a first-class priority, so ongoing institutional support is guaranteed while LG tries to figure out exactly what they bought when they grabbed webOS and begin preparing it for their Smart TV line.
 
I'd actually be more stunned had they gone with webOS rather than Firefox OS. We can wish all we want for webOS to be cast onto the main stage with the other mobile operating systems out there, but the fact remains that Firefox OS has major momentum in plenty of emerging markets from a variety of carriers and manufacturers and webOS is barely even limping at this point.
 
Releasing webOS on a retail-released smartphone right now would be a massive blunder given the lack of support across the industry board aside from the homebrew community, a version of Open webOS with a massive lack of feature support, and a literally dying app catalog where complaints keep rising around here daily over non-working apps--and at times, they're apps that were just paid for.
 
If webOS is ever going to come back "online" so to speak, it's going to be a long road and a lot of catching up before it's ready to do so, if they can schmooze the carriers, developers, and users it's burned over the years with its eccentric history into thinking it's worth a shot again. And that's probably the biggest "if" today in the mobile industry where webOS is concerned.

The FF OS still is alive because have the Telefonica support...

... and; for other side, this leave ALL other carriers in world tending to avoid...

Best Regards... B-)

Still wondering wheter we will ever see some good news again here ...

news is news. The really bad day will be when this last bastion of Webos goes silent.

The only way i can explain to myself why LG bought webOS in the first place is that it was ALREADY adapted to TVs by HP and LG just needs to tweak some stuff. Otherwise it just doesn't make any sense - they could have taken any linux running a customized version of XBMC!

I'll try some positive spin. LG got into webOS with a view to TV's. They liked it so much, they bought it (although I imagine it was cheap). They've only had it for about 6 weeks & no TV yet. Designing new hardware & developing the software will take time. Firefox OS is a move away from Android & will be aimed at emerging markets first.

Maybe they are exploring options. Maybe webOS will be the high end option. The petition link is in the article...

+1
I share that line of thought.

Agree completely. And if anyone hasn't signed the petition, it needs about 10x the current number of signers. Take the time and do it, please!!

The only way I see that webos will be viable in the future is if Mozilla's new Device A.P.I.s are ported to it, that way webos will be able to leverage all the money Mozilla and Telefonic are putting in Firefox os and the old app base if the old APIs are kept!

This is likely a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. LG's telephone division was probably working with Firefox a long time before the TV division decided to buy webOS.

I can't belive how many uninivative companies are playing with webOS.
HP? LG?

Booo LG. I take it the petition did not work.