In a recent interview with Fox Business Network, Hewlett-Packard (HP) CEO Meg Whitman said that the company will eventually need to jump back into the smartphone sector. Her reasoning was that in many countries, people can't afford to purchase a tablet, laptop or PC, thus the smartphone becomes the primary computing device. They'll do everything on that one device, and HP needs to take advantage of that opportunity.
"We are working on this," she said when asked when consumers will see an HP smartphone. "In the end I would love to be able to provide all the way from the most fabulous workstations to desktops to laptops to our tablets and convertibles all the way to smartphone," she said. "But we did take a detour into smartphone and we've got to get it right this time."
"And so my mantra to the team is 'better right than faster than we should be there,'" she added. "So we're working to make sure that when we do this, it will be the right thing for Hewlett-Packard and we will be successful."
The IDG News Service reports that Whitman talked about the smartphone subject again at HP's financial analyst day on Wednesday. She said that although her remarks to Fox Business Network caused quite a bit of sir, the company doesn't have any plans to release a smartphone before the end of 2013. However she said that the company needed to begin thinking about what makes HP so unique, and how that element can be applied to a smartphone.
"I believe that five years from now, if we don't have a smartphone or whatever the next generation of that device is, we'll be locked out of a huge segment of the population in many countries of the world," she admitted.
The company abandoned the smartphone and tablet sector last year after it acquired Palm and produced several devices based on its newly-acquired webOS operating system. The products tanked, causing HP to reorganize, let some workers go, and turn webOS into an open-source project.
During Wednesday's analyst event, Whitman also talked about the company's tablet plans. She acknowledged Apple's dominance in this sector, but said company CIOs would rather have a Windows-based product. HP just revealed on Monday its upcoming Windows 8-based ElitePad 900, an enterprise-class, 10.1-inch tablet designed for the business and educational environment.
"The consumer market, I would argue, is quite well-served by the tablet in the marketplace today from Apple," she said. "But every CIO I talk to wants to have a Windows device, backward compatibility, the ability to control those devices from a security perspective."