LG readying to plug in new webOS for future smart TVs


With the June 26 announcement of a new version of webOS, LG's TV sets have been set to join the expanding lineup of smart TVs in the class of 2015.

News of the retooled webOS followed on the heels of Google's announcement at I/O 2014 on June 24, in which the technology company revealed Android TV. Google announced that its Android-powered watches would serve as remote controls for TV using Android OS.

Lee In-kyu, LG's senior vice president, revealed news of the new version of webOS in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Lee hinted his company was likely to deploy webOS in a series of wearable technology.

LG's aspirations to increase its presence in living rooms around the world will be met with stiff competition from Apple, Google, Sony, Microsoft, Valve and Roku. All of the aforementioned companies, except LG, have revealed and established external hardware that can connect both monitors and TVs to the web and a world of apps.

Apple and Google have accompanied their set-top boxes with smart watches, Sony's PlayStation 4 has alleviated the struggles of its smart TVs, Microsoft's Xbox one recently removed the paywall from apps such as Netflix, Roku has long been a favorite among cord cutters, and Valve has been seeking to bring high-end PC gaming into living rooms with SteamOS.

LG has already gained traction with webOS, reporting the sale of over a million webOS-enabled TVs. But the company has to bring a slate of heavy-hitting features in the next version of it's operating system to continue to attract customers to its smart TV, as other companies such as Apple and Google seek to construct ecosystems from their hardware and software -- though LG has been poised to build its own ecosystem, with the reveal of its LG G watch and smart home appliance.

WebOS was once an operating system designed by Palm for its PDAs, before the company was acquired by HP. After a being groomed for HP's mobile devices and eventually implementation in Windows platforms, LG reached a licensing agreement with HP for webOS in February 2013.

Before news of a new version of webOS broke, LG announced that it was releasing its software development kit to help developers create new apps for the OS. Scott Ahn, LG's chief technology officer, stated that his company wanted to preserve the spirit of webOS' past in a platform that was "developer friendly.

"We feel it's very important for platform owners such as LG to assist developers in creating apps that are highly maximized for our products," stated Ahn. "In an industry where there is no single dominant standard, expanding the webOS TV ecosystem is a top priority for LG." 

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