File this one under Left Field. LG just announced a deal to acquire the remnants of webOS. If you’ll recall, webOS sprung to life as Palm’s next generation smartphone platform and answer to the iPhone… before being snapped up by HP. While HP had grand intentions of webOS powering mobile devices, printers, and PCs (!), they abruptly shuttered commercial operations mere weeks their TouchPad launched to lackluster reviews and sales. Fast forward a year or so ahead, past an open source initiative that hasn’t caught on:
To support its next-generation Smart TV technology, LG has entered into a definitive agreement with HP to acquire the source code, associated documentation, engineering talent and related websites associated with webOS. As part of the transaction, LG also will receive licenses under HP’s intellectual property (IP) for use with its webOS products, including patents acquired from Palm covering fundamental operating system and user interface technologies now in broad use across the industry.
Our ongoing fantasy has been that Amazon might pick up webOS to power it’s Kindle Fire line of tablets (and perhaps smartphones). But with Google continuing to develop and freely distribute Android, at least until the Microsoft patent tax gets you, it’s probably most efficient and cost effective to continue skinning as opposed to rolling their own platform. In regards to LG’s hopes, we doubt “webOS” is something that would move the needle in sales, but so-called “smart” televisions could certainly benefit from a more stable and ad-free presentation. Will they deliver?