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LG To Acquire WebOS for Use in Smart TVs

LG logo webos Topping a year of uncertainty and mostly silence from HP, Cnet has broken the story of LG's pending acquisition of the entire WebOS (former Palm) Global Business Unit, including patents, employees, and source code. Surprisingly, the rejuvenated WebOS will be used not to power any of LG's smartphones (where the company is a firmly entrenched Android supporter) or a new line of tablets but rather its expanding line of Smart TVs.

Rumors have swirled for the better part of the past six months of LG's interest in WebOS. Currently, LG offers a line of Android/Google TV-based Smart LED HDTVs as well as lower-end line of proprietary NetCast SmartTVs with the usual assortment of Netflix and other streaming apps baked into the sets' firmware.

The Inside Story of the Death of Palm and webOS

Palm webs history The Verge has published an excellent insiders look into the "death of Palm and webOS." The well researched article looks back at Palm's efforts to revive the platform and companies fortunes in the last five years of its existence.

The piece, which includes quotes and commentary from a number of former Palm employees and engineers, primarily focuses on the efforts of building and launching webOS and the ensuing struggle to market.

History has proven that tossing out a familiar platform that prints money for your business and starting anew isn't easy: just ask Apple and Microsoft, whose next-generation desktop operating systems in the 1990s (codenamed "Copland" and "Cairo," respectively) floundered aimlessly for years before being replaced with other initiatives. The politics of a mobile platform are no different. The entire process can quickly devolve into a holy war, it turns out, never mind the risk of alienating your users and third-party developers the very people by whom any platform is ultimately made or broken.

Whitman Talks About Future WebOS Plans in CRN Interview

HP CEO Meg Whitman CRN has posted excerpts of a new interview with HP CEO Meg Whitman in which she reveals some insight regarding her stance on the future of WebOS.

On slide # 10 of the multi-page spread, Whitman firmly states that HP "(has) to have a tablet offering. We will be back in that business. We're coming back into the market with a Windows 8 tablet, first on an x86 chip and then maybe on an ARM chip. We'll see."

Slide #13 and #14 discuss HP's message to the remaining people on the WebOS team and the rest of high-profile departures, some of which we have recently covered. Whitman says that "This has been a very rocky period for the former Palm team/WebOS team that we built. And this was not a happy set of occurrences over the last six to eight months. So we have lost some people." She surprisingly even states that "Between August and November, there was no plan."

Interview with the Departing Jon Rubinstein

The Verge has posted an interview with Jon Rubinstein, freshly-departed from HP. Some of the highlights discussed in the surprisingly frank interview include the timeline previously set in place for Rubinstein's departure from HP (12 to 24 months). According to the interview, Ruby was planning on leaving HP even prior to the TouchPad launch. He politely refused to discuss the "things that didn't work out the way everyone expected" aside from the CEO churn during his not-quite 2-year tenure with HP (Hurd, Lesjak, Apotheker, Whitman). He also states that that "HP wasn't in good enough shape on its own to be able to support the effort", speaking in terms of the capital outlay needed to perfect WebOS and its accompanying hardware and ecosystem.

Long-time PIC readers may recall the story of former Palm CEO Ed Colligan plucking Rubinstein out of his semi-retirement poolside in Mexico (illustrated in this article from 2007) and it's to this tranquil destination that Ruby has returned for "some time off". The "Podfather" is still using his HP Veer and expressed no desire to head north and try to rectify the problems at RIM.

Jon Rubinstein Leaves HP

Culminating many months of silence from the former Palm CEO, All Things D is reporting that Jon Rubinstein is leaving Hewlett Packard, effectively shutting the book on one of the last vestiges of the old Palm guard at the company. This news comes just two days after HP's announcement of their WebOS open-source timeline.

The All Things D article goes on to state that Rubinstein has "no immediate plans" and the departure comes on the heels of his fulfillment of a 12-24 month commitment to stay onboard with HP in the aftermath of the Palm acquisition in 2010.

The article concludes with report that Rubinstein's departure is no great surprise, as he had not been seen on HP grounds after last summer's groundbreaking decision by ex-CEO Leo Apotheker to discontinue HP's WebOS hardware products.

HP to Deliver Open WebOS 1.0 in September

HP webOS HP today made a number of announcements regarding its plans to open source the WebOS operating system. HP has released a detailed schedule for releasing components of the OS with the full source available by September.

In addition, the company has released version 2.0 of the Enyo developer tool. Enyo 2.0 enables developers to write a single application that works across mobile devices and desktop web browsers, from the webOS, iOS and Android platforms to the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers and more. The source code for Enyo is available today, giving the open source community immediate access to the application framework for webOS.

HP Releases Updates for TouchPad, Pre 2 and Pre 3

webos updates HP has released new round of webOS updates for the HP TouchPad, Pre 2 and even the officially unreleased Pre 3 smartphone. The free updates are available now as on device over the air downloads.

webOS v3.0.5
TouchPad users will be receiving webOS 3.0.5. This TouchPad update offers users faster switching in Calendar views, IM presence indicators and faster scrolling in Email, support for HTTP Live Streaming, the ability to easily toggle auto-correction on or off, and an option you can set so that a period will be inserted when you press the space bar twice. Further details can be found here.

webOS v2.2.4
Unlocked Pre 2 and AT&T, Verizon, and unlocked Pre 3 phones will receive an update to. For Pre 2, this update brings improvements in Skype voice calling and messaging, and MAP for Bluetooth. For all devices, you'll find Messaging, Calendar, and Contacts enhancements.

HP Eventually Plans to Release New WebOS Tablets

hp tablets webos The dust has not even settled on today's mega-announcement from HP to open-source WebOS and we already have some new info straight from the mouth of CEO Meg Whitman and board member Marc Andreessen (of Netscape fame) regarding a possible return to WebOS hardware in the future from HP.

The Verge conducted a sit-down interview in with Whitman and Andreessen earlier today about the future of WebOS, both as an ongoing open-sourced project and as the possible basis for future HP Tablet hardware.

For the time being, only a few excerpts from the full interview have been posted. In short, Whitman stated that yes, HP would indeed be revisiting WebOS tablet hardware but stopped short of committing to it in 2012 or later. She went on to state that the team is going to be reorganized in "a quite different direction than we've been taking it in the past". Presumably this will be a much sleeker, highly-competitive piece of hardware compared to HP's mediocre TouchPad that was seemingly launched as a barely-updated response to the 18 month-old first-generation iPad.

HP to Open Source WebOS

hp webos logo HP has just posted a press release detailing its decision on its future plans for the webOS platform. In short, the company plans to open source the webOS software but is noncommittal on any future hardware plans.

HP says they will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Their desire is for developers, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers to work on the project to deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions. HP also will contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the community in the near future along with a plan for the remaining components of the user space.

"webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable," said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. "By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices."

Pre 2 and TouchPad Updates Rolling Out

Every time HP announces a new update to their WebOS devices, the community breathes a collective sigh of relief that their devices are continuing to be useful and supported. So this week's news that a WebOS system update for both the TouchPad and the Pre 2 is definitely reason to smile.

First off, WebOSInternals has tweeted the news that select Pre 2 owners are reporting WebOS 2.2.4 is starting to trickle out. Skype support for non-VZW Pre 2 handsets is the main focus of this update, along with Bluetooth MAP support and sync improvements to the core PIM apps.

HP Holding WebOS Decision Announcement Meeting Friday

Coming as something of a surprise this late Thursday evening, Precentral brings word of the breaking news that that HP CEO Meg Whitman has scheduled an all-hands meeting for Friday, December 9th. At approximately 10:30AM PST, the fate of WebOS in the hands of HP should finally be made clear.

Last week, Whitman told a French newspaper that a decision would be reached within the "next two weeks", though few expected an announcement this soon. Prior to this event, it was exactly one month ago at another all hands on meeting when HP decided to do take more time to determine the fate of the platform.

HP Holding a Refurbished TouchPad Sale Dec 11

HP TouchPad Fire SaleJust when you thought it was safe to start your holiday shopping for an Android or iOS-based tablet, HP has announced a curious return of the fire sale TouchPads, albeit as a slightly less attractive offering than what was offered during the original August blowout.

Beginning December 11th at 7PM Eastern time, HP will make a limited quantity of refurbish 16GB and 32GB TouchPads available through their eBay store. In addition to the two tablet SKUs at the previous $99 and $149 price points, HP will be offering a bundle consisting of a case, TouchStone charging dock, and Bluetooth wireless keyboard for $79.The timing for this clearance sale is new especially intriguing in light of the announcement expected for Friday, December 9th on the fate of WebOS. Thankfully, the purchase of a companion HP PC is not required.

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