HP sells webOS to LG Electronics

In a surprise announcement, HP has sold off the dormant webOS technology it acquired from Palm to South Korean giant LG Electronics Inc.

LG has stated that it plans to use webOS to support its next-generation Smart TV technology. No financial details were released and LG entered into a definitive agreement with HP to acquire the source code, associated documentation, engineering talent and related Web sites associated with webOS. As part of the transaction, LG also will receive licenses under HP’s intellectual property (IP) for use with its webOS products, including patents acquired from Palm covering fundamental operating system and user interface technologies now in broad use across the industry.

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This announcement will enable people to develop on the webOS platform as LG said it would include it on its new product roadmap. It also gives HP the opportunity to focus its resources on strategic business opportunities such as cloud computing.

Skott Ahn, president and chief technology officer for LG, said the company is commitment to investing in talent and research in Silicon Valley. This deal creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices. The open and transparent webOS technology offers a compelling user experience that, when combined with our own technology, will pave the way for future innovations using the latest Web technologies.

Ahn explained that LG Electronics’ investment in webOS technology and its acquisition of the innovation team’s R&D capabilities are expected to extend LG’s offerings in bringing Internet services directly to consumer electronics devices. “Integrated with LG, this team will be the heart and soul of the new LG Silicon Valley Lab, focused on bringing innovative technology solutions to market through the most popular platforms for sharing and consuming content and experiences,” he said. With the transaction, LG will add the Sunnyvale and San Francisco sites to its global R&D locations, in addition to its existing U.S. sites in San Jose and Chicago.

Also under the agreement: LG will assume stewardship of the open source projects of Open WebOS and Enyo; HP will retain ownership of all of Palm’s cloud computing assets, including source code, talent, infrastructure and contracts; and HP will continue to support Palm users.

While HP was selling webOS to LG, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based technology giant went droid by launching a slate tablet running Android Jelly Bean.

This seven-inch diagonal screen product weighs 13 ounces and features a stainless-steel frame and soft black paint in gray or red on the back. It also offers embedded Beats Audio.

The HP Slate comes with services like Google Now, Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts for multi-person video chat as well as access to apps and digital content through Google Play.

The HP Slate is expected to be available in April with a starting price of $169.

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