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LG breathes new life into webOS for smart TV

Posted: 09 Jan 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LG Electronics  smart TV  webOS  HP 

LG Electronics has redesigned the webOS to give it an opportunity to power the Korean firm's latest smart TV platforms. The mobile OS originally developed by Palm, was acquired by HP at $1.2 billion in 2010, but the project, smartphones and tablets based on webOS, was discontinued only a year later in the midst of turmoil among HP's management. The webOS development team formerly at HP, estimated to be a few hundred engineers, found a new home at LG's Silicon Valley Lab based in Santa Clara, Calif.

LG has announced its commitment to webOS with plans to use it for more than half of the company's new TV models. Describing webOS as crucial to "make smart TVs simple again," Scott Ahn, LG Electronics CTO, said that it offers "simple connection setup, simple switching between TV apps and simple discovery."


The company announced its commitment to webOS with plans to use it for more than half of the company's new TV models

The new UI, which deploys an animated character to aid the user through connectivity setup, has a clean look. And it's definitely cute.

But how much it actually simplifies consumers' smart TV operations remains to be seen.

Unlike the smartphones that have come to dominate the mobile handset market, smart TVs have yet to take the world by storm. Consumers who just want to relax in front of a TV often find the demands of smart TV too complicated.

Rewind the clock back to early the 1990s.

TV manufacturers went through a decade long spat with the cable guys who were armed with interactive digital cable STBs. PC companies were trying every which way to push PCs in the living room.

In subsequent years, TV set vendors themselves have scrambled to come up with Internet connected TVs whose iterations include Web TV, Internet TV, IPTV and smart TV (some using Android as its OS, and others adopting Google-designed Google TV).

As recent as over the last few years, there have been persistent rumors about a new Apple TV, which die-hard Apple fans hope might change the consumer TV experience once and for all. Not to be outdone, earlier last year, Intel made public that the chip giant would be creating an IPTV service along with a custom software and hardware platform to deliver it direct to consumers. But in less than a year, Intel reportedly called it quits due to an absence of CEO support and the chip company's lack of media power. The latest word on the grapevine is that Intel is talking with Verizon about selling off its Intel Media division complete with the IPTV program.

- Junko Yoshida
  EE Times

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