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LG buddies up with Qt to expand webOS in autos, smart home, and robots

Jun 25, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 597 views

The Qt Company and LG are collaborating to integrate LG’s Linux-based webOS Open Source Edition with the Qt development platform for automotive, smart home, and robotics.

The Qt Company announced “a significant expansion of its long-standing partnership” with LG Electronics to extend the reach of the webOS Open Source Edition, which LG launched in early 2018. The Qt Company will work with LG to release webOS with the cross-platform Qt SDK and related GUI and development tools to offer “the most comprehensive operating system for smart devices in the automotive, robotics and smart home sectors,” says the Qt Company. Other potential applications are said to include AI, connectivity, media and content services, and automation. “Qt will play a key role in the development of webOS Auto, planned for deployment in future automotive infotainment systems,” says LG.

In addition, webOS will officially become a Qt reference OS of Qt, with full support for the distribution within Qt Creator, Qt Design Studio, Qt 3D Studio, and related Qt software. The goal is to make webOS with Qt “the platform of choice for embedded smart devices.”

The Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded based webOS OSE distribution is a fully open source version of the webOS stack that runs on LG Smart TVs and other LG smart appliances. Like the defunct Firefox OS, it’s web-based, with strong support for HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3.

The Apache-licensed webOS OSE, which is backed up by a community site with forums, guides, tools, and source code, has been available to the open source community for over a year. It already includes the core Qt SDK, as well as Blink, Systemd, Wayland, a Chromium 53 based browser, and an Enact app development library that works on top of the React libraries.

The Qt Company will likely help LG spin off different profiles for things like automotive, robotics, and smart home projects. This would be much like what Samsung has done with its Tizen OS, which has been spun off in different versions for its smart TVs and appliances, as well for the few Tizen phones still on the market.

Qt has some middleware that might help with the different profiles. For example, in 2016, the Qt Company announced a Qt Automotive Suite based on Qt for Device Creation that is designed for quickly developing IVI and instrument cluster GUIs. It was upgraded to v5.12 in January. At the same time, the company announced a partnership with LG Electronics Vehicle Component Solutions Company for developing in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) interfaces.

There’s also a Qt for Automation stack that ranges from industrial automation to smart home devices. It remains to be seen whether LG will fully integrate webOS OSE with its SmartThinQ smart hub and automation ecosystem.

“We look forward to continuing our long-standing collaboration with Qt to deliver memorable experiences in the exciting areas of automotive, smart homes and robotics,” stated I.P. Park, president and CTO of LG Electronics.

“By collaborating with LG on this initiative, we’re able to make it easy as possible for our customers to build devices that bring a new definition to the word ‘smart’,” stated Juha Varelius, CEO of Qt.


Palm Pre

 
webOS background

It’s been a long, strange trip for Palm’s Linux-based webOS, which despite its reputation for superior multitasking, could never quite blossom under the dark shadows of Android and iOS. HP gave it a whirl with its webOS-based TouchPad tablet and revamped Pre phones, but in 2011 it closed down the project, spinning off the platform as an open source Open webOS project.

The mostly independent Open webOS project released version 1.0 in Sept. 2012, but to the disappointment of webOS stalwarts, it ran only on an Android-based Nexus phone, not on Pre phones or the TouchPad. Five months later, LG bought webOS from HP.

LG revamped the proprietary webOS with many open source components, including a new foundation in Yocto, and released it as the basis for its LG Smart TV platform. The stack has also appeared in a digital signage version and a smart refrigerator.


LuneOS

In 2015, Open webOS evolved into an open source LuneOS project. LG does not appear to be a collaborating with the group, which would be difficult in any case considering the changes to the codebase.

 
Further information

Qt and LG offered no further details on the availability of the Qt-enabled webOS stack. More information may be found in LG’s announcement should eventually appear at the Qt website and LG’s WebOS OSE site.

 

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