Let's be honest: HP will be forced to enter the mobile sector whether it likes it or not. Sure, the company fell on its face after acquiring Palm and launching the failed webOS-based smartphones and tablet. But as other PC manufacturers have figured out, you need solid footing in the growing mobile sector as consumers abandon their desktops for high-powered tablets and smartphones.
The latest HP rumor has the struggling company choosing Android as the OS of choice for its second-generation mobile venture. That's not surprising given Google's mobile platform is open-source and free to use. It's also somewhat stable if you haven't upgraded to v4.2 "Jelly Bean" and beyond (which hopefully Google has set things right with v4.2.2 launched this week), and full of tasty content when you combine both Google Play and Amazon's Android-friendly digital goods and services.
According to unnamed sources who didn't want to be identified, HP has chosen Nvidia's Tegra 4 as the SoC of choice for its first Android device. Based on the report, this device will be a tablet which has been in the works since before Thanksgiving. These sources claim that HP's Android solution could be one of the first devices to ship with a Tegra 4 later this year.
HP joins Toshiba and Vizio which are reportedly working on Tegra 4 tablets. The chip itself was revealed back at CES 2013 in January, and will power Nvidia's Project Shield Android-based handheld gaming console that will also be able to stream PC games from a GeForce GTX 650 (or GTX 660M) based PC. This gaming system is slated for a 2Q13 release, Nvidia said.
On the smartphone side, HP is supposedly exploring its options, but CEO Meg Whitman already stated that HP has no plans to launch such a device in 2013. That may be a wise choice given that Microsoft and Amazon are reportedly launching branded phones sometime in the back half of 2013, and Apple will release its next iPhone installment before the end of the year.
Recently HP teamed up with Google to release its own Pavilion 14 Chromebook earlier this month, seemingly testing the post-webOS mobile pool. Tech specs include a 14-inch screen, a 16 GB SSD, an Intel Celeron processer and HD Graphics, up to 4 GB of RAM, an HP TrueVision HD Webcam, and more. Pricing for the Chromebook starts at $329.99 USD.
A collaboration between HP and Google could be a win-win for both involved. For HP, the company can rely on a highly-popular, highly-used OS as it slowly enters back into the mobile market. For Google, it would have the #1 PC maker within reach as the search engine giant pushes its Android OS into the desktop PC market.
"HP supporting Android at this point in time is deeply strategic," said Ben Bajarin, Principal analyst covering consumer market intelligence and trends for Creative Strategies, Inc. "The reality is that if HP, or any vendor for that matter, wants to have a relevant tablet / mobile strategy, it has to include Android."
HP is rumored to be quietly showing an Android tablet behind closed doors during Mobile World Congress 2013 later this month. An official announcement isn't expected to be made until after the show, sources said.