When HP open sourced webOS, we all knew it had more to do with the charitable donation benefit of giving a $1.2 billion project to the web. That didn't stop us from wondering what might happen with the project after launching. The addition of Gram, a webOS professional team dedicated to bringing a more robust webOS to OEMs, it was clear HP didn't want it to just die.
This week the first hardware partner of Open webOS was revealed, and it is not what anyone would expect. In fact, it is a partner that is surprising and a form-factor that is even more unexpected. LG has teamed up with HP and Gram to produce the first ever webOS-powered smart television. Open webOS is replacing LG's own NetCast operating system, as well as the previously announced Google TV partnership. NetCast was unveiled at CES 2009, along with the original Palm Pre and webOS as a whole. While webOS has had various forms, as well as 3 master versions, NetCast hasn't really changed since launch.
Bringing webOS to a television is a bit of a challenge. Despite demand from the community, there has never been a Netflix app, official Pandora app, Yahoo!, CinemaNow or even a proper YouTube app since the original Pre. Though there is a Pandora app, even that isn't official, meaning there's a lot of work to be done. These apps are said to be in development in preparation for their debut on the LG television, and one can only hope we can see them in action on the existing webOS devices now that they exist.
The one remaining massive obstacle to overcome is the boot time. If you have ever interacted with a webOS phone, or any smartphone for that matter, you know it takes a while to boot up. It is one of the reasons the phones stay in hibernation most of the time instead of powering off all together. LG and Gram is going to have to work together to figure out how to fix this problem or the television is going to be a massive failure. They could always take the phone route and leave the processor running all the time so that the TV powers up quickly, but that would take a little more power.
We expect to see LG and HP figure out this hitch and we look forward to seeing Open webOS premiering on the big screen this January at CES 2013.