LG is already invested in the Android Wear ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean it can’t explore alternatives. If a recently spotted developer website is any indication, LG may be trying to bring a webOS smartwatch to market.
The LG-hosted website has been taken down since The Verge first reported on it earlier today. Details are scarce for now, and LG refused to comment on the launch of a webOS wearable: “There are many initiatives going on at LG at any given moment. The majority of them never see the light of day,” said a company representative.
webOS is the successor to PalmOS, considered one of greatest mobile operating systems of all time. Acquired by HP in 2010, webOS powered the tech giant’s short-lived line of mobile devices, including the TouchPad, before its discontinuation in 2011.
LG acquired webOS from HP in 2013 for the stated purpose of using it on its smart TVs. However, there’s nothing stopping LG from using the flexible webOS for other devices, including smartphones and wearables.
LG’s first modern smartwatches are the Android Wear-powered G Watch and G Watch R, the latter being expected to launch in mid-October. Like Samsung, LG may be trying to diversify its products and reduce its reliance on Google’s operating systems. Samsung has invested generously in Tizen, which powers some of its smartwatches (most recently, the Gear S), cameras, and smartphones (though the Samsung Z is still not available in stores).
While some of the key members of the webOS project have left after LG bought the project, the Korean company could still turn it into a viable alternative to Android, especially in less developed categories, like smartwatches and smart TVs. For that, however, LG will need to create a competitive ecosystem, and that’s the biggest challenge for any new operating system right now.