LG bought webOS from HP earlier this year in what many thought to be a risky move for the South Korean electronics company, but its attempt at resurrection is near at hand. LG is set to reveal a webOS-powered TV at the Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas.
The operating system was once owned by Palm and became HP’s with its purchase in 2010, but since then webOS has failed to muster any significant following with consumers because developers didn’t design software for it. Eclipsed by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, webOS fell by the wayside in the eyes of developers and consumers especially after HP’s devices built to run webOS received some negative reviews. But bringing the operating system to a smart TV — the device that LG has seen success with — could be the last hope for the OS that was once intended for hand-held mobile devices.
The smart TV business is also still charging full steam ahead; LG has made plans to add more features to its smart TV platform in more countries, giving users access to social media applications and online streaming video services like Netflix. So far, LG’s smart TVs have run Google TV — a platform that hasn’t quite taken off the way Google had hoped. While webOS has proven dead in the water as a mobile OS, it still has never been tested on the TV market, specifically on LG’s renowned TV technology. So it seems wise on the part of LG to keep up its profits in the smart TV market with an operating system that is all its own, despite the system’s historical failures.
LG also likely seeks to maintain a successful operating system for itself as other smaller operating systems gain traction. Samsung’s Tizen OS, Jolla’s Sailfish, Firefox’s mobile OS, and others are at the beginning stages of edging onto the world stage dominated by Android and iOS. Of course these operating systems are designed for smartphones and other hand-held mobile devices, but what is to prevent LG from launching webOS on smartphones if it sees success in TV? After all, it’s already got the hardware lined up.