LG’s smart TVs ship with an operating system called webOS, which is the latest version of an operating system that was developed by Palm to run on phones, acquired by HP to use with tablets, and eventually sold to LG, which is still using it today.

But now LG wants to expand the adoption of webOS and the company is working with the South Korean government to solicit business proposals from other companies interested in using webOS.

LG has also released a webOS Open Source Edition version of the operating system.

WebOS Open Source Edition is currently aimed at developers, and here’s an SDK available as well as instructions for building the operating system. It can be installed on a Raspberry Pi 3 computer.

The operating system is designed to run apps built using web technologies including HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. That’s where the “web” in webOS comes from.

The open source operating system also includes a home launcher, support or notifications, and system apps including a Settings app and a version of Google’s open source Chromium web browser.

It’s unclear at this point whether the release of webOS Open Source Edition will spur development of new categories of devices powered by webOS. But the operating system’s history makes it clear that the software was never meant just for smart TVs. Maybe we’ll see new phones, tablets, game systems, or wearables running a version of webOS in the future.

But it’s also unclear what competitive advantage there would be to choosing webOS for those products rather than Android, which already supports a massive array of third-party apps (many of which are not yet available for webOS).

LG wouldn’t be the first company to take on Android, iOS, and Windows. Mozilla attempted something very similar with its Firefox OS, but that project has largely fizzled out. Jolla is still trying to make its Sailfish OS a thing. And Samsung uses its own custom versions of the Tizen Linux operating system for its smart TVs and smartwatches.

via LG



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7 replies on “LG releases webOS Open Source Edition, looks to expand webOS usage”

  1. I think it would be neat to see it back on phones. I had a Palm phone and loved it. I miss it.

    1. It makes perfect sense for webOS to make a return to phones and tablets When most apps become Progressive Web apps with webassembly. Even linux phones too…let there be more players in the field and get rid of the Apple google duopoly

      1. It’s still going to be hard for anyone to take on Google and Apple. Not even a huge company like Microsoft could make much of a dent with their Windows Phones.

  2. I really miss webos. From the simple things allowed by real multitasking (blending multiple applications needing simultaneous audio playback, graphical applications running naturally in the background, etc) to the ease of hacking your user experience with CSS modifications.

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