LG buys WebOS from HP to use in future smart TVs

The 2013 Mobile World Congress (MWC) officially kicked off in Barcelona this weekend, meaning you should prepare for an onslaught of device announcements and other mobile news over the next few days.

In fact, LG has kicked things off already by dropping a bombshell today. The South Korea-based electronics giant has apparently purchased WebOS from Hewlett Packard, and plans to use it in future products…

Don’t get too excited though, it doesn’t look like the critically-acclaimed operating system is going to make its way back into smartphones or tablets anytime soon. LG is looking to use the OS in its smart TVs.

CNET has the scoop:

“LG said today it was acquiring WebOS from Hewlett-Packard, with the intention to use the operating system not for its mobile phones, but in its smart televisions. With the deal, LG obtains the source code for WebOS, related documentation, engineering talent, and related WebOS Web sites. LG also gets HP licenses for use with its WebOS products, and patents HP obtained from Palm. The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.”

Scott Ahn, LG’s president and chief technology officer, said the WebOS acquisition “creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices.” So perhaps it’s possible that the software could one day turn up in other products. But given LG’s allegiance to Android, and the fact that most of the WebOS team’s mobile engineers have left, we’re not counting on it.

HP originally acquired WebOS, along with its Palm purchase, back in 2010 for some $1.2 billion. The company originally pledged to offer a wide array of devices using the software, but the commitment was short-lived.

In the fall of 2011, HP announced that it would be killing all of its WebOS products. And it’s been sitting on the operating system ever since. Here’s hoping LG can manage to do more with it, which shouldn’t be too hard.

Fittingly, HP announced this weekend that it’s joining the dozens of other Android device-makers, by introducing the Slate 7 tablet. The $170 device will be available in April, running a 6-month old version of Google’s OS.