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SECTIONS / CONSUMER ELECTRONIC SHOW

LG Rolls Out Their First WebOS TV

By David Richards | Tuesday | 07/01/2014

WebOS which was a brilliant web designed OS that was killed off by HP due to poor marketing is back, this time on an LG Smart TV.

LG executives told ChannelNews that this was just the start and the OS that powered the Palm smartphone will appear in other devices.

When LG acquired parts of WebOS in February the market did not know what LG intended for an OS that at one stage Apple saw as a threat to their iOS.

WebOS has been worked on and is now being positioned as a flexible platform that at this stage has been repurposed for the TV. However there is every possibility that it makes it way to an LG smartphone.


Click to enlarge

The head of product management and design for WebOS, Itai Vonshak, as well as Colin Zhao, director of product management for LG's Silicon Valley Lab recently spoke to the Verge about their plans for the OS.

What was revealed today at CES was a WebOS interface that was clean and highly functional.

Over half of LG's TVs next year will run WebOS TV, so it's a significant effort but LG isn't quite all-in yet. Zhao says that "the war cry that we started with was to 'make TV simple again.'" To pull it off, WebOS smart TVs start with the metaphor of the line. Instead of a grid of apps, everything you want to do is arrayed horizontally. "There's nothing simpler than understanding a line," Vonshak says. "You have your past things, you have your present, and you the future."

The "present" is the home screen, which appears as an overlay on top of whatever you're watching instead of kicking you off to a separate screen with a grid of apps. The line gives you a list of your favourite apps - stuff like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and YouTube, and so on - along with a card that represents your last app and another called "Today" that can make content recommendations.

The key difference between this and other smart TVs is that LG doesn't create a distinction between smart TV apps and regular TV and inputs. They're all just cards. "We wanted unity. Everything is the same, be it your Xbox, your source, or some apps," says Vonshak. "If you're watching Netflix and want to switch to see what's happening in a game, and then go back to YouTube, it should be all the same thing." In fact, LG's TVs can automatically identify new inputs and label and name them for you - so if you plug in a PS4, it will appear as a PS4 card, not just "HDMI 2."

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