WebOS is no longer a neglected afterthought in the HP empire. The company confirmed on Monday that finally, after essentially leaving webOS to rot, LG has purchased the rights (not the entire portfolio) for the beloved OS, with intentions to implement the software into its Smart TVs. LG said it has no intentions of creating any webOS smartphones, but the possibility of a future device hasn’t been completely ruled out.
But does the world want to see this corpse reanimated? There’s no denying webOS has a cult fanbase; users often think fondly of what once was and, really, the software never truly disappeared. It was always there, as a loving memory, a story you tell your grandchild. But, honestly, we’re so far past the point of webOS being a bonafide competitor that it seems puzzling LG would have any interest at all in the fallen OS.
In an article written up by The Verge, LG seems unsure about its purchase, saying webOS will be applied to Smart TVs because the company believes “the environment will change from an app environment to a web environment.” LG has largely relied on Android to chug along its mobile offerings, but the company has lagged behind companies like Samsung and HTC. Perhaps this is LG’s way of breaking off—LG CTO Dr. Skott Ahn hinted that Android and webOS could be used “together.” That might be a start.
In the past few months alone we’ve seen BlackBerry 10, Firefox OS and Ubuntu for smartphones appear out of the mobile ether. Not to mention Windows Phone 8 is still making a challenge. Choices are great, and there are many people out there who’d love to see a further developed webOS, if not for nostalgia’s sake. But don’t count on it to put a dent, or even a scratch, into the armors of Android and iOS. LG has an excellent piece of marble with which to create, but I really don’t see the company crafting anything of substance.
It might happen, one day. In the short term, LG is committing webOS development to Smart TVs only. “In the future, wherever our plans take us, we’ll consider an extension to other devices,” Dr. Ahn said. That’s a vague promise to smartphone hopefuls; who knows if and when a webOS/Android hybrid will rear its Frankenstein head.
LG might not have a clear plan of attack, at least in mobile, but it obviously still feels like webOS has a lot to offer. When comparing Android, which has evolved into the most widely used OS on the planet, Dr. Ahn said webOS still has a more user friendly experience overall, particularly the card UI.