Arik Hesseldahl wrote a post for AllThingsD.com that covered the recent announcement by LG that it had acquired webOS from HP:
The deal, Veghte said, will include the source code, documentation, a license to all the associated patents (HP won’t be letting those go) and the remaining user experience team.
According to the post, LG is going to use webOS in its Smart TVs (and likely will include it in additional devices in the future). webOS had some interesting UI design metaphors (e.g. its 'cards' multi-tasking feature) that have yet to be replicated in the other major mobile platforms. Unfortunately, webOS also was horribly mismanaged by HP (and before that, by Palm) and never took hold in the mobile device market. At this point, it is a given that it will not be a contender in the mobile market (thus LG's plans do not include a smartphone or tablet device).
Perhaps the most interesting part of this deal is that LG did not acquire the rights to the patents related to webOS. It says a lot about the value of software patents that HP was unwilling to let go of that part of its intellectual property. In any case, at least LG has acquired some of the members of the webOS user experience team.
There's no telling how successful webOS will be on appliances such as Smart TVs, but at the very least this deal breathes a bit of new life into an otherwise defunct platform.