Long after HP dumped webOS as a platform for Palm smartphones and tablets, LG is still using the tech it snagged in 2013 to run apps and manage voice assistants on new smart TVs. While it continues to maintain an open source edition, LG just confirmed that it will open the webOS ecosystem for use by other manufacturers, naming RCA, Ayonz and Konka as a few of the brands joining in. An earlier report mentioned Blaupunkt as well.
LG Home Entertainment president Park Hyoung-sei said in a statement, "By welcoming other manufacturers to join the webOS TV ecosystem, we are embarking on a new path that allows many new TV owners to experience the same great UX and features that are available on LG TVs." Other manufacturers already use panels made by LG Display, so extending the availability of its software may be an easy deal to make.
So far, no other top-tier manufacturers are mentioned as joining in on this deal, but it does add another option to the mix for lower-priced smart TVs that already run Android, Roku or Amazon's Fire TV. This could also benefit people who buy LG TVs as it creates a larger audience. Streaming services can prioritize the platform for new apps and features, if they weren't already.
According to The Verge, licensees will start off running webOS 5.0 — the latest version its SDK is publicly available for — instead of the latest version that drops the bladed launcher entirely for a more traditional look. Park Hyoung-sei said that version 6.0 is "the most significant update since we first introduced webOS in 2014," so hopefully it becomes widely available sooner rather than later.