WebOS may well become known as the operating system with nine lives. Released to the open source community after Hewlett-Packard decided to give up on it shortly after the launch of the HP TouchPad, the future for the promising OS looked grim. That may have all changed today with the news that LG is buying webOS from HP.
But there is a twist in the story. Don’t expect LG to dump Android and start releasing webOS-powered smartphones and tablets instead. The purchase was made by LG’s TV unit with the intention of using the operating system in future TVs.
“It creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices,” said Skott Ahn, president and chief technology officer of LG Electronics Inc.
The deal between HP and LG includes the webOS source code, patents, HP licenses for use with its WebOS products and webOS websites. Whatever is left of the webOS development and engineering teams will also move over to LG. They will become the “heart and soul” of LG Silicon’s Valley Lab.
The financial terms of the deal were not revealed. It’s very unlikely that HP got anywhere close to the $1.2 billion it originally spent when it bought webOS from Palm in 2010.
There is no word yet on when we could see the first webOS-powered LG television.
LG also confirmed that it will continue to support Palm users.