LG Takes WebOS Off HP’s Hands for “Smart TV” Initiative, Despite Slow Demand

LG Electronics signed a definitive agreement with Hewlett-Packard to buy webOS, the mobile operating system the latter obtained through the acquisition of Palm in 2010. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a release stated that “HP and LG do not expect this transaction to have a material impact on either company’s financial statements.”

What is LG getting out of the deal? The webOS source code, documentation and brand, plus the engineering talent that developed it. The Korean manufacturer also said that it will license a number of Palm patents in HP’s possession.

“WebOS and its associated community deliver market leading platforms for the next generation of connected devices. We are constantly looking for opportunities to accelerate the delivery of this platform from the community,” said Bill Veghte, HP’s chief operating officer. “LG’s track record of innovation and broad distribution provides this opportunity, while enabling HP to accelerate our Cloud efforts. In particular, with the cloud assets that will remain with HP, we will focus on delivering innovative solutions that will enable our enterprise customers to mobilize their workforce.”

LG plans to implement webOS in its next-generation smart televisions, with the goal of succeeding where others have failed. Intel is bent on doing the same.

The chipmaker recently announced plans to launch its very own set-top box, just like Cisco and several other smaller firms with whom it doesn’t compete with directly. The company has high hopes for its new product, but SiliconANGLE Founding Editor Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins believes that there’s simply not enough demand to justify the investment. LG may want to take note.

Smart TVs are not attracting the masses today, but content providers have definitely taken notice. A few weeks Twitter shelled out an estimated $50 to $100 million for Bluefin, a startup that specializes in analyzing social TV trends.