LG buys webOS from HP for smart TV

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Tony Cripps, devices and platforms analyst, Ovum

“South Korean electronics giant LG has acquired the source code, documentation, engineers, and websites of the Palm-developed webOS from HP. LG says that it plans to use the technology in future smart TV devices rather than the smartphones and tablets for which webOS was originally designed.


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“The move by LG to buy the webOS assets comes as something of a surprise. The code of the software platform was released into open source by HP as Open WebOS last year and wasn’t widely expected to find any OEM support despite having demonstrated some novel thinking in devices such as the Palm Pre and HP TouchPad.

“However, LG has clearly recognized a need to invest in greater software platform and user interface capabilities. This comes at a time when device manufacturers are recognizing the need to differentiate through software-based innovation in user experience.

“LG’s stated intention to use webOS in TVs makes sense for the company, which is enjoying significant momentum in this emerging device category. However, we can’t discount the possibility that LG could yet return webOS to its smartphone roots.

“The platform’s heavily HTML5-oriented application framework is well-suited to the emerging zeitgeist for web technology in mobile devices that was further energized this week by the commercial debut of Mozilla’s Firefox OS. A focus on HTML5-based apps and services will allow for significant innovation at the level of the underlying user experience, with far less compromise in terms of application support than is the case with left-of-center native programming paradigms.”
Nokia chief outlines mobile Internet strengths in emerging markets
Angel Dobardziev, customer insights analyst, Ovum

“Nokia’s CEO, Steven Elop, outlined a coherent vision and strategy for addressing the challenges in connecting the next billion users in this morning’s keynote session at MWC 2013.

“Elop identified the three key challenges in connecting the next billion: providing affordable content and data, delivering an app economy for feature phones, and enabling effective content discovery. He then proceeded to outline how the assets Nokia has in this space fit together to address them.

“Ovum liked Elop’s emphasis on channeling Nokia’s high-end device and service expertise to deliver an affordable yet compelling Internet experience for lower income users. This is being achieved through the use of attractively-designed, low-cost feature phones, its cloud-based browser Nokia Express, and its Nokia Life set of educational, agricultural, and entertainment services.

“Due to its considerable distribution network in emerging markets, Nokia is well placed to continue its strong performance in this space for as long as smartphones remain above the $50 mark.”

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