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HP Hints Again at Return to Smartphone Market

By - Source: The Indian Press | B 10 comments

Last week Su-yin Yam, senior director of HP's consumer business in the Asia-Pacific, confirmed that the company will dive back into the smartphone business. The revelation was made at an event in Beijing, but Yam was unable to provide a specific timetable regarding when the company plans to re-enter the market.

"It would be silly if we say no," Yam told PTI. "HP has to be in the game."

HP sank 1.2 billion USD into its acquisition of Palm in April 2010, believing it would score big with webOS in both the smartphone and tablet sectors. Several phones and a tablet later, HP shelved additional plans for those two form factors in mid-2011, threatened to spin off its PC division, and began throwing up portions of webOS to the open-source community.

Since then, LG has licensed the OS to use in its Smart TVs. HP slowly emerged back into the tablet scene with the 7 inch HP Slate 7 with Android and the ElitePad 900 G1 with Windows 8. The company will likely take the same slow approach with the smartphone sector, a path CEO Meg Whitman hinted to last September. She said the company needed to deliver a product in developing countries where people aren't scooping up tablet and notebooks.

That points to Android as the OS of choice: it's popular, doesn't come with a licensing fee, and has more market experience than the upcoming Firefox OS and Tizen. But HP will undoubtedly face fierce competition from the likes of Samsung, LG and Google-owned Motorola. As Yam said last week, HP's solution will need a differentiated experience.

"Being late you have to create a different set of proposition," Yam said. "There are still things that can be done. It's not late."

It's definitely not too late to enter the smartphone race: if fact, it's probably an excellent time. Both Nvidia and Qualcomm have produced chips with embedded 4G LTE connectivity. USB OTG technology adds peripheral connectivity and external storage, turning the phone into a pocket-seized desktop. NFC technology even allows users to tap their phone to pay the bill. There are so many things current smartphone technology could do to boost HP's own tablet and notebook line of products, it would be "silly" not to take part.

IDC predicts that emerging markets will account for 64.8 percent of all smartphones shipped in 2013, up from 43.1 percent in 2010. Overall, smartphone shipments are expected to grow 32.7 percent year-over-year, reaching 958.8 million units in 2013. Only 722.5 million units were shipped in 2012.

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  • 0 Hide
    sundragon , July 2, 2013 8:47 AM
    Wow, how far HP has fallen... This may be the last nail in the coffin :( 
  • 0 Hide
    Honis , July 2, 2013 9:24 AM
    HP WebOS released 1 phone (veer) and 1 tablet (Touchpad). One is not several. The Pre 3 was never officially launched, however the inventory was ready to sell so it was released to wholesalers after Leo started the fire sale.

    Palm released "several" WebOS phones if 3 phones and 2 slightly upgraded phones is considered several.
  • 0 Hide
    spartanmk2 , July 2, 2013 9:40 AM
    No, just no. Stick to making printers.
  • 0 Hide
    sundragon , July 2, 2013 10:00 AM
    Quote:
    No, just no. Stick to making printers.


    We studied this in Business school. The problem is no money in printers (any more) - Companies need to bring disruptive tech to the market. Examples: BBerry, iPhone, IBM PC, iPod, Open Source - All of these technologies were not bleeding edge but a combination of tech that were disruptive when launched and changed the market. The key is to keep doing it - reinventing your business to stay valid and competitive.

    HP managed to do this quite successfully over it's long history but like IBM is slowly becoming a giant beast that can't turn fast enough.

  • 0 Hide
    razor512 , July 2, 2013 10:11 AM
    If they can make an android smartphone and tablet but with the webOS 3.x keybooard, then they will easily be able to beat many other devices on the market.

    Bring the webOS multitasking to android will also be great.

    Compared to all other mobile OS, webOS 3.x has the best multitasking and keyboard. Running apps stay in the cards and the OS cannot auto close them, meaning no launching a program and then going into another program or game, only to find your office application auto closed without saving your work (even though it's icon is still in view on the andrid app switcher menu)

    webOS will just push some data to swap space, and if there is still not enough free RAM, it will pop up a message so you can go to the application yourself and save your work and give the application a graceful shutdown. (just like on many desktop PC's running a full OS)

    The keyboard has all of the right buttons in the main view (including a half height number row, and if you want, some arrow keys on either side of the number row)

    here is a screenshot I took a while back

    http://i.imgur.com/3zgcIoR.png

    android, please add the webOS keyboard, and proper multitasking where if I launch a program, it should never be auto closed to save memory, if more memory is needed then tell me and I will choose what to close.

    WebOS failed because it did not have many applications and promoted monetization so heavily that there were hardly any free apps, and for what little was free, most were crappy practice apps (eg, random unit converters and other small apps that a new programmer would make for a class assignment)

    This made it have a lot of trouble competing with other mature platforms with free alternatives for what ever was being charged for in the webOS app store.

  • 0 Hide
    cptnjarhead , July 2, 2013 10:51 AM
    Screw you HP!
    webOS was beautiful and you killed it!
    Rot in hell hp!
  • 0 Hide
    cptnjarhead , July 2, 2013 10:52 AM
    Screw you HP!
    webOS was beautiful and you killed it!
    Rot in hell hp!
  • 0 Hide
    cptnjarhead , July 2, 2013 10:53 AM
    Screw you HP!
    webOS was beautiful and you killed it!
    Rot in hell hp!
  • 0 Hide
    lamorpa , July 2, 2013 2:07 PM
    HP Hints Again at ^Attempt to^ Return to Smartphone Market
  • 0 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , July 3, 2013 8:40 AM
    HP could have made webOS worked, but the CEO at the time wanted to get out of consumer hardware and when it didn't launch that well, he was quick to shelve it. Thereby blowing billions of dollars.