LG grants WebOS a fourth lease on life, but on smart TVs

LG appears set to acquire WebOS from HP, giving the defunct mobile operating system yet another chance to prove its worth—though on its fourth go-round, WebOS will be powering smart TVs rather than the mobile devices.

WebOS was initially designed for phones and tablets, but CNET reports that LG "has no intent" to create a WebOS-based smartphone. Instead, the company plans to use the operating system to power its connected televisions. While that likely means that the days of Google TV-powered LG televisions will soon be over, CNET says LG intends to stick with Android as its operating system of choice in the mobile arena.

Along with the source code for WebOS, employees and patents will also be transferred to LG. The company is expected to deliver the first smart TV based on the platform some time in 2014, with the first product announcement hopefully slated for next year's Consumer Electronics Show, WebOS Nation reports.

The deal between LG and HP has yet to be officially announced, however. It was first announced by CNET in what appears to be a prematurely posted report, complete with a quote from LG's senior technology officer. CNET has since yanked the article, though WebOS Nation says it has independently confirmed the details of the acquisition. We have reached to HP and LG for further details and will update this post if either company provides more information.

HP's TouchPad tablet.

The story of WebOS began in 2009, when Palm created the OS to better compete with the iPhone. The operating system and devices like the Palm Pre never really caught on, however. HP bought Palm in 2010 for $1.2 billion, and then launched a pair of WebOS-powered devices in 2011: the HP Pre 3 and the TouchPad tablet.

HP's WebOS devices didn't sell well either. Later in 2011 the company stopped manufacturing devices running the OS and decided to release the source code under an open-source license. With the LG purchase, WebOS is essentially getting a fourth lease on life—a rarity in the fast-moving technology world.

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