HP Sells WebOS Operating System to LG Electronics

LG is to buy webOS from HP planning to put it on its smart television sets.

WebOS is to get another chance thanks to LG Electronics. Photo: Lisa Brewster/Flickr

The tech giant intends to use the operating software, featured in now-defunct Palm smartphones years ago, for its “smart” or Internet-connected TVs.

The Asian electronics company had worked with HP on WebOS before the news of a possible purchase, Reuters reports.

As mentioned in the terms of agreement, LG acquires the operating software’s source code, associated documentation, engineering talent and associated websites.

The list also includes licenses under HP’s intellectual property and patents referring to fundamental operating system and user interface technology.

The tech giant will retain the patents and all the technology relating to the cloud service of webOS, HP Chief Operating Officer Bill Veghte revealed in an interview.

“As we looked at it, we saw a very compelling IP that was very unique in the marketplace,” he said, adding that HP has already had a partnership with LG on webOS before the deal was announced.

“As a result of this collaboration, LG offered to acquire the webOS operating system technology,” Veghte said.

Skott Ahn, President and CTO, LG Electronics, said the company will incorporate the operating system in the Smart TV line-up first “and then hopefully all the other devices in the future.”

LG also promised that the WebOS team will make up the “heart and soul” of the new LG Silicon Valley Lab, with its Sunnyvale, Calif., and San Francisco sites joining LG’s global R&D locations in the Valley, alongside WebOS offices in San Jose and Chicago, CNET writes.

Some experts have previously predicted the death of WebOS after HP opted to dump it into the open-source graveyard. Although the company assured to provide all the necessary support, it was essentially left for dead.

The news comes a day after HP announced the Slate7, a 7″ Android tablet at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress show.

With the release of Slate 7, the tech giant is focusing on what it sees as the most promising market: the mid-sized tablet space. HP faces a lot of competition, however, as its new tablet already has such serious rivals as the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7.

HP hopes to challenge those devices by setting an aggressive price point on its device — $169.99 in the U.S. — and by bringing what it dubs a “premium build experience” to its tablet.

Reporters asked Alberto Torres, HP’s senior vice president of its Mobility Global Business Unit, whether shoppers will just opt for the faster Nexus 7 or more family friendly Kindle Fire HD for $30 more.

“We are going to have a very strong value proposition with Beats Audio and that the design is far superior than those other tablets that you mention,” he said.

Torres also reminded that HP “wants to be the leader in tablets so to expect other price points.” In other words, a larger, more premium Android Slates in HP’s lineup can appear in the not too distant future.

While HP keeps silent about future products, it’s obvious that this isn’t the only Android device the company plans to debut.

Some specialist are already predicting that if HP can put some of its ideas with the Slate 7 into practice with more aggressively specced hardware, the company could make a mark for itself.

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