Blog Post

LG may be working on a smartwatch running webOS

WebOS may run on smartwatches in the future. The operating system first developed by Palm appears to be getting a new lease on life, according to files posted to the LG developer website. The site was quickly pulled, but not before the Verge was able to take a few screenshots.

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Image via the Verge
Image via the Verge

There’s not a whole lot of information available, but the images make clear that LG is or was at some point working on a program called webOS SmartWatch for Developers. One graphic shows a watch with analog hands. While a statement [company]LG[/company] provided to the Verge said that webOS Smartwatch is one of many initiatives that may “never see the light of day,” even the fact the Korean company is working on it is a surprise.

webOS and LG have a checkered past. After HP open-sourced the mobile operating system, LG stepped in to hire its old team, installing them in an office called the LG Silicon Valley Lab and setting them to work on a webOS-equipped smart TV. As was first reported by Gigaom’s Janko Roettgers, the transition didn’t go well, with major miscommunications and friction between LG’s Korean headquarters and its California-based webOS team. Eventually, about a third of the team left after 18 months, which raises the question: Where is the webOS SmartWatch being developed?

It’s a little bit surprising that LG is looking into alternative smartwatch platforms. The LG G Watch was one of the first two devices to run Android Wear, and LG is preparing a newer, circular model for later this fall. But other smartwatch makers are hedging their bets too: Samsung has its Galaxy Gear watches that run on Tizen OS, and although Sony makes an Android Wear device it also makes another line of wearable wristbands called the SmartBand.

At the very least, the webOS images reveal that although LG is at the Android Wear party, it may have its eyes on the door.