LG to use Palm's mobile software for smart TVs

YOUKYUNG LEE AP Technology Writer Published:

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- LG Electronics Inc. said Monday it will bring the software that once powered Palm's smartphones to majority of its new smart TVs this year.

The South Korean firm unveiled webOS-based smart TVs at a trade fair in Las Vegas, less than a year after its purchase of the operating system for smartphones and tablet computers from Hewlett-Packard Co.

HP's sales of webOS to LG in March gave a new life to the ill-fated webOS software created by Palm Inc., the maker of Palm Pre smartphones later acquired by HP.

While HP scrapped the mobile devices running on the webOS after disappointing sales in late 2011, LG Electronics is betting big on the webOS to improve the way viewers navigate smart TVs. LG is the world's second-largest TV maker by shipments after Samsung Electronics Co.

Even though television set makers had hoped to mimic the robust growth in the smartphone industry by introducing the Internet-connected televisions that can run applications like smartphones do, the TV market's size was forecast to shrink in 2013 due to the global economic recession, according to market research firm IHS.

More than 70 percent of LG's new smart TVs this year will be based on webOS, which helps simplify searching contents and setting up the TV. LG also expects the new OS would make it easy for developers to write applications for its TVs.

Another point of improvement that LG hopes to make through the webOS software is the compatibility between smart TVs and other devices.

While LG did not say what other devices will become compatible with smart TVs, consumer electronics makers are envisioning households where consumers can easily control all kinds of home appliances and gadgets from one place.

Samsung Electronics, LG's home rival, is also seeking to make a television set as a center for controlling refrigerators, lighting and air-conditioning in a household, a concept that consumer electronics companies call "smart home."

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