CES 2014: LG opts for webOS over Android TV, Panasonic chooses Mozilla’s Firefox OS on its smart TVs

LG is set to abandon long-time partner Google and its Android TV platform for its smart TVs, instead announcing it is reviving the webOS operating system, while consumer electronics rival Panasonic is partnering with Mozilla.

In a surprise move, Panasonic announced at the 2014 International CES show in Las Vegas that it is partnering with Mozilla over Google, and will use Firefox OS – previously used on low-end smartphones – to power its smart TVs.

“In next generation smart TVs, basic functions, such as menus and EPGs (Electronic Program Guide) which are currently written as embedded programs, will be written in HTML5, making it possible for developers to easily create applications for smartphones or tablets to remotely access and operate the TV,” Panasonic says in a statement.

“By using new Mozilla-pioneered WebAPIs for hardware control and operation, next generation smart TVs will also be capable of monitoring and operating devices inside and outside of the home, such as the emerging smart home appliances.”

Meanwhile, in a move set to send shockwaves through the consumer electronics industry, LG announced it will use the webOS platform on more than 70% of its smart TVs this year, in a slap in the face for Google.

In a statement, the company cites the Launcher, a dock that it says allows users to easily switch between broadcast TV, stored video and smart TV apps, as a key benefit of the platform.

“We feel confident that consumers will find navigating, exploring and switching between different forms of content on webOS a truly enjoyable, not frustrating, experience,” LG TV division senior vice president In-kyu Lee says.

The webOS platform was originally developed by Palm, makers of the popular Palm Pilot series, as an all-touch operating system and platform for smartphones and tablets.

HP acquired the platform in its takeover of Palm in April 2010 and used it in a number of its smartphones, tablets and printers, announcing plans to incorporate the operating system across its product line.

However, following slow initial sales of webOS devices, HP shelved the platform in favour of focusing on devices running Windows and Android.

By August 2012, the company released the source code under an open source licence as Open webOS, with development continuing through a wholly-owned subsidiary called Gram.

In February last year, LG announced it had purchased webOS and the Gram business off HP.

 

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