It appears the Linux-powered WebOS is set to make a bit of a comeback in 2014. I know. I know. I'm surprised too.
Palm creates WebOS to replace the aging PalmOS for its phones. Things don't go well for Palm. So it sells the OS off to Hewlett Packard. Hewlett Packard releases a few WebOS devices, including a few cellphones and the TouchPad tablet. But those don't sell well and HP then exits the computer, phone and tablet industries entirely. HP then sells WebOS to LG (which used to be called “Lucky Goldstar”... which is just a super awesome-sounding business name), but not before releasing the source code for much of the system.
I think it would be fair to say that it has been a rather tough couple of years for WebOS. And, let's be honest, we were all pretty convinced we'd seen the last big hurrah for this wonderful little system.
It turns out LG actually had big plans for turning this downtrodden mobile phone and tablet operating system into...a TV system.
Until now, LG has been utilizing GoogleTV on its line of smart TVs. But, seeing as LG owns WebOS, this move does make a certain amount of sense from the “use your own OS and be the master of your own destiny” standpoint.
But one really has to wonder how well WebOS will work on a TV (something that we've yet to see). Will LG need to make significant changes to the existing WebOS user experience to make it work via a remote control? And if it can turn WebOS into a great TV watching system...how much work will such an endeavor entail? Will it really have been worth it, in the long run? Will LG save money (and time) over simply continuing to use its already deployed version of GoogleTV?
There are still lots and lots of questions, and very few answers. At this point, we don't even know what the TV will cost or what the full feature set will be.
But one thing is quite certain - it's going to be fun to be able to talk about WebOS again, even if just for a little while.