WebOS running on an LG Smart TV
Open WebOS community contributors,
previously Hewlett-Packard & Palm
|OS family||WebOS (based on Linux kernel)|
|Source model||Open source|
|Marketing target||Embedded devices|
|Available in||English (US), Spanish, French, Italian and German|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux kernel)|
|Default user interface||Graphical (Luna)|
WebOS, also known as webOS, LG webOS, Open webOS, or HP webOS, is a Linux kernel-based multitask operating system for smart devices like TVs, and smartwatches; and was formerly a mobile operating system. Initially developed by Palm, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard, HP made the platform open source, and it became Open WebOS. The operating system was later sold to LG Electronics. Various versions of WebOS have been featured on several devices, including Pre, Pixi, and Veer smartphones, the HP TouchPad tablet, LG Smart TVs including LB870, LB730 and LED LB671, and upcoming smartwatches including LG Watch Urbane LTE and the Audi smartwatch.
Through all iterations of the operating system (Palm, HP and LG) the owners have stylized the name as webOS.
Palm launched WebOS in January 2009 then called Palm webOS as the successor to Palm OS. The first WebOS device was the original Palm Pre, released by Sprint in June 2009. The Palm Pixi followed. Upgraded "Plus" versions of both Pre and Pixi were released on Verizon and AT&T.
In April 2010 HP acquired Palm; WebOS was described[by whom?] as a key asset and motivation for the purchase. The $1.2 billion acquisition finalized in June. HP indicated its intention to develop the WebOS platform for use in multiple new products, including smartphones, tablets, and printers.
In February 2011 HP announced that it would use WebOS as the universal platform for all its devices. However, HP also made the decision that the Palm Pre, Palm Pixi, and the "Plus" revisions would not receive over-the-air updates to WebOS 2.0, despite a previous commitment to an upgrade "in coming months." HP announced several new WebOS devices, including the HP Veer and HP Pre 3 smartphones, running WebOS 2.2, and the HP TouchPad, a tablet computer released in July 2011 that runs WebOS 3.0.
In March 2011 HP announced plans for a version of WebOS by the end of 2011 to run within Windows, and to be installed on all HP desktop and notebook computers in 2012. Neither ever materialized, although work had begun on an x86 port around this time involving a team in Fort Collins, Colorado. Work was scrapped later in the year.
In August 2011 HP announced that it was interested in selling its Personal Systems Group, responsible for all of its consumer PC products, including WebOS, and that WebOS device development and production lines would be halted. It remained unclear whether HP would consider licensing WebOS software to other manufacturers. When HP reduced the price of the Touchpad to $99, the existing inventory quickly sold out.
The HP Pre 3 was launched in select areas of Europe, and U.S.-based units were available only through unofficial channels (both AT&T and Verizon canceled their orders just prior to delivery after Apotheker's (HP's CEO at the time) announcement). Notably, these U.S. Pre 3 units, having been released through unofficial channels, lacked both warranties and carried no support obligation from HP; as a result parts are nearly impossible to come by. HP announced that it would continue to issue updates for the HP Veer and HP TouchPad, but these updates have failed to materialize for the former, and the latter saw a final, unofficial release called "webOS CE" that contained only open-sourced components of WebOS meant for what remained of the developer community rather than a conventional, user-centric update to the operating system. The latest HP WebOS version, 3.0.5, was released on 12 January 2012.
In December 2011, after abandoning the TouchPad and the proposed sale of the HP Personal Systems Group, HP announced it would release WebOS source code in the near future under an open-source license. In August 2012, code specific to the existing devices was released as webOS Community Edition (CE), with support for the existing HP hardware. Open webOS includes open source libraries designed to target a wider range of hardware. HP renamed its WebOS unit as "Gram".
In February 2012 HP released Isis, a new web-browser for Open webOS.
Growth and decline of HP App Catalog
The HP App Catalog was an online marketplace for applications for the mobile devices running webOS.
On 6 June 2009, webOS launched on the Palm Pre with 18 available applications. The number of apps grew to 30 by 17 June 2009, with 1 million cumulative downloads by 27 June 2009; 30 official and 31 unofficial apps by 13 July 2009; 1,000 official apps by 1 January 2010; 4,000 official apps 29 September 2010; and 10,002 official apps on 9 December 2011.
Subsequently, the number of available applications has decreased because many applications have been pulled from the App Catalog from its owners. Examples include the apps for The New York Times and Pandora Radio. The number of remaining functional applications was unknown. When factoring out abandoned and/or non-functioning applications that remain in the App Catalog at present, the number is projected to be substantially lower. WebOS users lost HP App Catalog access after the 15 January 2015 shutdown (which was extended to March 15, 2015 for unknown reasons) of the HP App Catalog servers; this was notified by a Catalog splash screen on 11 November 2014.
On 25 February 2013, HP announced that it was licensing WebOS to LG Electronics for use on its web-enabled smart TVs. LG Electronics is allowed unlimited access to the documentation, source code, developers and all related websites. LG Electronics acquired WebOS from HP to enhance their smart TVs, replacing their previous NetCast platform. However HP will still hold on to patents underlying WebOS as well as cloud-based services such as the App Catalog. Despite WebOS being used as an OS for smart TVs, LG has not ruled out the possibility of a WebOS smartphone, the original purpose of the OS.
|Feature||LG webOS||Open webOS||HP webOS/palm webOS|
|Multitasking interface||Line Cards||Cards||Cards|
|Gestures||through Magic Remote||through touch screen and physical keyboards||through touch screen and physical keyboards|
|Synergy||not supported||not supported||Supported|
|Third-party applications||LG Store||Homebrew||App Catalog|
|Over the air updates||yes||yes||yes|
|Wireless recharging||N/A||N/A||yes (proprietary standard)|
|Discovery of nearby devices||via Connect SDK||no||later devices support Bonjour/ZeroConf and proprietary "Touch to Share"|
|open source||no||yes||some code released under Open webOS|
|Devices / versions||LG smart TVs / LG smartwatches||ported to multiple devices / Open webOS 1.0
HP Touchpad / webOS Community Edition
|pre, pre plus, pixi, pixi plus / HP webOS 1.4.5
pre2, pre3 / HP webOS 2.x.x
HP Touchpad /HP webOS 3.0.x
Navigation uses multi-touch gestures on the touchscreen. The interface uses "cards" to manage multitasking and represent apps. The user switches between running applications by a flicking gesture from left and right on the screen. Applications are closed by flicking a "card" up—and "off"—the screen. The application "cards" can be rearranged for organization. In WebOS 2.0 introduced 'stacks', where related cards could be "stacked" together.
Palm referred to integration of information from many sources as "Synergy." Users can sign into multiple email accounts from different providers and integrate all of these sources into a single list. Similar capabilities pull together calendars and also instant messages and SMS text messages from multiple sources.
Over the air updates
The OS can be updated without docking to a PC, instead receiving OS updates over the carrier connection.
The notification area is located on the bottom portion of the screen on phones, and on the top status bar area on tablets.
On phones, when a notification comes in, it slides in from the bottom of the screen. Due to the resizable nature of the Mojo and Enyo application frameworks, the app usually resizes itself to allow unhindered use while the notification is displayed. After the notification slides away, it usually remains as an icon. The user can then tap on the icons to expand them. Notifications can then be dismissed (sliding off the screen), acted upon (tapping), or left alone.
By default, data synchronization uses a cloud-based approach rather than using a desktop sync client. The first version of WebOS shipped with the ability to sync with Apple's iTunes software by masquerading as an Apple device, but this feature was disabled by subsequent iTunes software updates.
On HP WebOS, officially vetted third-party applications are accessible to be installed on the device from the HP App Catalog.
As HP WebOS replaced Palm OS, Palm commissioned MotionApps to code and develop an emulator called Classic, to enable backward compatibility to Palm OS applications. This operates with WebOS version 1. Palm OS emulation was discontinued in WebOS version 2.0. MotionApps disengaged from Classic in 2010, citing HP Palm as "disruptive."
Another source of applications is homebrew software. Homebrew applications are not directly supported by HP. Programs used to distribute homebrew WebOS applications include WebOS Quick Install (Java-based for Desktop computers), and Preware (a homebrew WebOS app catalog, which must be sideloaded to install). If software problems do occur after installing homebrew programs, "webOS Doctor" (provided by HP) can restore a phone back to factory settings and remove changes made by homebrew apps and patches.
Smart TV features
LG has redesigned the UI of WebOS, whilst maintaining the card UI as a feature called "Simple switching" between TV apps. The other two features promoted by the company are simple connection (using an animated Clippy-like character to aid the user through setup), and simple discovery.
The list of open-source components used by the different releases of WebOS, as well as the source code of and patches applied to each component, is available at the Palm Open Source web page. This page also serves as a reference listing of the versions of WebOS that have been publicly released.
- Nandagopal Rajan (3 March 2014). "LG’s WebOS could actually make people use smart features in televisions". http://indianexpress.com/. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Alex Dobie (7 January 2015). "Exclusive: The hottest smartwatch of CES isn't running Android Wear — it's Open webOS". http:// www.androidcentral.com /. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "Open webOS :: Open webOS Architecture". Openwebosproject.org. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- "Exclusive: The LG Audi smartwatch runs webOS!". 7 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "HP webOS Developer FAQ". Palm, Inc.
- Bajarin, Ben (30 June 2011). "HP Is Committed to Its 'WebOS' Platform (and It Should Be).". Time (Time Inc.). Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- "HP snubs Windows, plans to integrate WebOS into PCs". Digital Trends. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- "Thanks (really!) for the feedback". Hewlett Packard.
- "HP Breaks Promise: WebOS 2.0 Upgrades for Palm Pre and Pixi Not Coming". Brighthand.com. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- Hardy, Ed (20 November 2010). "HP Commits to WebOS 2.0 Upgrades for All Palm Smartphones". Brighthand.com. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- Hollister, Sean (14 March 2011). "HP TouchPad coming June, WebOS for PC beta by year's end". Engadget (AOL Inc.). Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- "Apotheker Seeks to Save HP's 'Lost Soul' With Software Growth". BusinessWeek (Bloomberg L.P.). 9 March 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
- "Developing and Distributing with HP: Developer Program Details". developer.palm.com. Hewlett-Packard Development Company. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-01.
- "HP Confirms Discussions with Autonomy Corporation plc Regarding Possible Business Combination; Makes Other Announcements". Press release. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- "HP kills WebOS, spins off PC business to focus on software". AppleInsider. 11 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- "HP Web OS -High connectivity, stability and security". Hewlett-Packard. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
- Fried, Ina (22 August 2011). "HP: WebOS Still Coming to PCs and Printers, Pre3 Launching in "Limited" Markets". AllThingsD (Dow Jones & Company). Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "HP to Contribute WebOS to Open Source". Press Release: December 9, 2011. Hewlett-Packard. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- Hesseldahl, Arik (15 August 2012). "Meet Gram, HP’s New Name for the Company Formerly Known as Palm". All Things D. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Musil, Steven (15 August 2012). "HP spins off WebOS business, rebranding it as 'Gram'". CNET (CBS Interactive). Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Barletta, Bryan (18 June 2009). "Palm Pre Prepared For The Spotlight?". Medialets, Inc.
- Barletta, Bryan (24 June 2009). "Palm Pre App Catalog Reaches 1 Million Downloads". Medialets, Inc.
- Bohn, Dieter (10 July 2009). "Palm Pre Homebrew: 31 Apps. Official App Catalog: 30". PreCentral.net. Smartphone Experts.
- Werlinger, Robert (1 January 2010). "App Catalog Hits 1000 apps". webOS Nation. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- Bohn, Dieter (29 September 2010). "webOS surpasses 5,000 apps". webOS Nation. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- Touchpad breaks 1,000 app milestone. 9 December 2011.
- "Gram working with LG on an Open webOS TV". webOS Nation. 24 October 2012.
- "LG Electronics Acquires webOS from HP to Enhance Smart TV". Press Release: February 25, 2013. Hewlett-Packard. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- "HP offloads Palm WebOS assets to Korea's LG". BBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- Nilay Patel (25 February 2013). "HP emerges as big winner in WebOS sale". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "Open Source Packages". Retrieved 6 April 2014.
- "Palm International". Retrieved 15 July 2010.
- "Palm Unveils All-new WebOS" (Press release). Palm, Inc. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- "HP webOS official website". Palm, Inc. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- Derek Kessler. 25 Oct. 2010.WebOS 2.0, MotionApps drops Classic PalmOS Emulator in Palm's lap.
- MotionApps. 25 Oct. 2010.Classic's Got a Brand New Home! MotionApps Hands Classic Over to Palm
- Precentral (precentral.net). Homebrew Apps
- milominderbinder (precentral.net) 22 Jan. 2010. Getting Started: Homebrew Apps, Patches, and Themes with WebOS Quick Install.
- "HP WebOS Doctor". HPWebOS.com. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "LG reveals massive plans for WebOS TV platform". The Verge. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "Open Source Packages: HP webOS open source compliance". openwebosproject.org. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- Jesse Mendoza (30 March 2010). "HP Rolls Out WebOS 3.0 Beta with Enyo On Board".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to WebOS.|
- Open WebOS
- WebOS Developer Center
- WebOS Source Code Downloads
- WebOS Internals Wiki
- Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and WebOS by Chris Ziegler