Digital role reversal: LG buys webOS from HP, while HP announces its first Android tablets

In what appears to be an example of digital role-reversal, electronics giant LG has announced that it has purchased the webOS smartphone and tablet platform off HP, while HP has announced it is releasing tablets running Android.

HP has announced it is entering the Android tablet market with the release of a $US169 device called the Slate 7.

The Slate 7 includes a 7-inch screen, 1024×600 resolution, a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor and 8 gigabytes of storage.

Meanwhile, according to ZDNet, LG claims it has purchased webOS – originally known as the Palm Pilot platform – from HP in order to become the basis of its smart TV product line, while continuing to support any remaining Palm or webOS users.

As part of the deal, LG gains the full source code for webOS, the remaining HP webOS team and all of the patents HP acquired with its takeover of Palm.

However, HP will retain a licence to use webOS in its future products as well as its cloud server technologies.

The predecessor of webOS, Palm, was a pioneer in the smartphone and PDA market during the 1990s.

HP acquired the platform in its takeover of Palm in April 2010 and used it in a number of its smartphones, tablets and printers.

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

Gram released the first version of Open webOS in October last year and LG has vowed to continue allowing open source access to the platform.

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