In February 2013, HP decided it was time to give up the webOS dream, after half a decade of failing to bring the Palm OS ideas to life. LG acquired the dying mobile operating system and had a plan, to reinvent webOS for their Smart TVs.
LG’s move to take webOS and change the layout and functionality, while still holding some of the finer details together, was an ambitious stride. Today at CES the company unveiled why they bought the OS and how they have redefined the idea of Smart TV.
WebOS has been redesigned but comes with the familiar card layout, only this time with rhombus shapes on the bottom the TV. The cards are all the users frequently used apps and LG has grabbed a few core apps, including Netflix, YouTube and Skype, amongst others.
Whats interesting is the cards are not just apps, they are stations and different connected devices. For instance, when a user plugs in their Xbox One or PS4, instead of just showing ‘HDMI 1’ it will show up as the PS4, a clever move by LG to make webOS easier.
LG has also made switching channels a lot easier and it all has to do with the simplistic interface, allowing users to switch from TV to Netflix, similar to how the Xbox One controls applications and app switching.
As for how LG will acquire the apps, webOS uses a very simple Enyo framework and most web applications are compatible without a large amount of tinkering. App developers will obviously have their worries in case their apps do not see any users, but with Netflix and other streaming services already available, it is only a short time before LG starts to build its own TV store.
LG will not just be putting this on one TV, the South Korean company plans to install webOS onto 50% of their TVs this year alone, with more to follow as they move forward. This is a move against Rokuand Apple TV and other TV options, but it is one that is integrated with the television, making it an easier solution.