LG buys webOS platform from HP

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Platform, which was originally designed for mobile devices, will instead be used in LG’s smart TVs

LG has acquired the webOS platform from HP, but will instead use the technology in its smart TVs rather than on its mobile devices.

The undisclosed deal sees LG acquire the source code, documentation, engineers and websites of the platform.

HP bought Palm, together with its webOS platform, for $1.2 billion in April 2010.

However, in August 2011, HP said it was discontinuing operations for webOS devices as devices had not met internal milestones and financial targets.

Ovum devices and platforms analyst Tony Cripps said: “The move by LG to buy the webOS assets comes as something of a surprise.  The code of the software platform was released into open source by HP as Open WebOS last year and wasn’t widely expected to find any OEM support despite having demonstrated some novel thinking in devices such as the Palm Pre and HP TouchPad.

“However, LG has clearly recognized a need to invest in greater software platform and user interface capabilities. This comes at a time when device manufacturers are recognizing the need to differentiate through software-based innovation in user experience.

“LG’s stated intention to use webOS in TVs makes sense for the company, which is enjoying significant momentum in this emerging device category. However, we can’t discount the possibility that LG could yet return webOS to its smartphone roots.”

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