LG will soon resurrect Palm's WebOS platform, refitting the operating system to work on a smart television. This according to The Wall Street Journal
, which cites sources familiar with the South Korean tech giant's plans in saying that a WebOS-powered television will debut next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Internet-connected television will be the first major device to feature the WebOS operating system since HP's failed line of mobile devices, which were released after the computer giant bought Palm
in an abortive attempt to secure a space for itself in the new generation of mobile computing devices.
LG bought WebOS off of HP
at the beginning of 2013, acquiring the source code, documentation, talent, websites, and all licenses and patents covering the operating system. At the time, LG was reticent regarding its plans for the operating system, and the forthcoming smart TV is the first embodiment of LG's plans for the platform. Reportedly, a smart TV is just the initial step with WebOS, as the company plans to build it into commercial displays and potentially cars.
Palm's WebOS interface, which appeared on the ill-fated Pre and TouchPad.
LG has given no word on whether WebOS might return to its original home on tablets and smartphones. The Journal
notes, though, that the company is more open now to just such a possibility than it was when it first bought the platform.
The TV LG will unveil is said to pack a 2.2GHz dual-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM and apps based on the WebOS platform. It will also apparently retain the card-based app structure that differentiated WebOS at the time of its unveiling in 2009
. That interface design arguably inspired the multitasking features now seen in Google's Android, Apple's iOS 7, and Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.
The recipient of a good deal of critical acclaim, WebOS was developed by Palm as a counter to Apple's iOS, and it debuted on the Palm Pre before appearing on subsequent Pre devices and the manufacturer's ill-fated TouchPad tablet
. Palm's devices, though, failed to gain any traction with either consumers or developers, and the company entered dire financial straits. It was soon after bought by HP, which vacillated between going full bore into the mobile market and holding back. HP eventually shuttered Palm's operations, selling WebOS to LG and releasing portions of the system to the open source community.