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HP Finally Re-Enters Smartphone Business in a Big Way

By - Source: Hewlett Packard | B 11 comments

HP now has a 6-inch and 7-inch "phablet" and they run Android instead of WebOS.

Hewlett Packard (HP) is jumping back into the smartphone pool in a big way with the release of two "phablets:" the 6-inch diagonal HP Slate6 VoiceTab and the 7-inch diagonal HP Slate7 VoiceTab. Both devices are powered by an unnamed quad-core processor backing voice-calling capabilities and Google's Android operating system.

"Consumers are looking to consolidate their phones and tablets, which is propelling the voice tablet market," said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president, Consumer Personal Systems Group, HP. "This is an exciting new category that represents a meaningful growth opportunity for HP. Our HP Slate VoiceTab provides consumers with a high-quality product at a great value."

At this point the hardware details are slim, but HP reports that the phablets sport HD front and rear cameras, an "innovative" new IPS panel for better viewing angles and more responsive touch, front-facing stereo speakers, and a 3G Dual SIM Dual Standby feature.

For now these two devices are launching in India in February 2014. When and if these devices head to other territories like Europe and the United States is unknown at this point. HP also did not disclose any pricing.

So why did HP choose India as a starting point for its smartphone market entry? In an interview with re/code, Ron Coughlin, VP for the consumer PC business, said that the market for phones and smart devices in India is growing.

"We see a need in India that we can meet," Coughlin said. "Consumers are looking for a way to consolidate devices. We think there's an opportunity to enter a growing market where there's an unmet need."

HP is also one of the top selling brands in India, so launching smartphones there makes sense. In fact, according to IDC, HP has a 32 percent market share in that country, well ahead of Lenovo, which has about a 14 percent market share and Dell with around 12 percent of the market.

"[In India], the predominant way that people buy their voice-enabled devices is without a service contract," Coughlin said. "We also have a great brand presence and a great go-to-market system there."

HP also chose India first because the devices tested well with Indian consumers; they had the "highest purchase intent." These tests were conducted up to four months ago, about the same time that rumors of HP working on a smartphone began to percolate.

"I won't say where or when, but you can expect us to do more in the coming months," he said. "We'll be talking about this in a more expansive way. But right now we're focused on a successful launch in India."

The interview coughed up additional hardware information. Both have 16 GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot for 32 GB of additional storage. The display is 1280 x 720 on the 6-inch model and 1280 x 800 on the 7-inch model. The front-facing camera is 2MP, the rear camera is 5MP, and the OS of choice is Android 4.2 "Jelly Bean."

Add your comment Display 11 Comments.
  • 2 Hide
    Jgriff , January 15, 2014 10:41 AM
    by far the nicest designed phone I've ever seen, super thin, near borderless design, textured back, looks like its light, yes! Ive been wanting a phone exactly like this since the inception of smart phones
  • 0 Hide
    koss64 , January 15, 2014 11:22 AM
    Im disappointed, I heard months ago that they were heading back into the smartphone market and they said they were coming with something innovative. What I was expecting was a Windows 8 phone with a physical keyboard which no one has yet, not a me too Samsung Galaxy Note.
  • 3 Hide
    g-unit1111 , January 15, 2014 1:32 PM
    Quote:
    Im disappointed, I heard months ago that they were heading back into the smartphone market and they said they were coming with something innovative. What I was expecting was a Windows 8 phone with a physical keyboard which no one has yet, not a me too Samsung Galaxy Note.


    I wish they had brought back Web OS, they had a truly great thing going with that and flushed it down the toilet.
  • 1 Hide
    ibnmuhammad , January 15, 2014 6:28 PM
    Beautiful design... but oh no, not Yet Another Android crapware phone.Come on HP... keep WebOS alive!!Come on Samsung... keep Bada alive!!
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , January 15, 2014 6:56 PM
    but a 3G dual sim, dual standby would think me twice.. now it needs is just the price... ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    glasfactor , January 16, 2014 8:33 AM
    HP continues to be consequent in being in-consequent. "We do phones now, now we don't do anymore". "Now we are back with a "new" phone" - that the market most probably really doesn't need. Refer to the move with buying WebOS and closing it down, I don't remember did they "opened" it at least, but who cares - the thing is outdated and in coma for decades. Would assume that would have been a wise move to at least stay compatible and dual boot even - hey why not??? But at least I hope HP understood why they turned from a very attractive high end company to mid-level to low cost player - if their laptops were designed in this (Slate6 VoiceTab) way they would be elsewhere. VoiceTab??? Who came with that name should be sent home. Tasteless. Long. Not standing out. "Hey could pass me my VoiceTab? (...or my Slate6)" Finally: How comes very few understand: it's all about the looks. All about the design. And then comes marketing. Looking onto this particular ""newcomer" at a crowded party" - I believe it will be almost impossible for "him" to find a company if he is not cheap as hell - and he will not be. =) So Thumbs down from me. (period)
  • 0 Hide
    agnickolov , January 16, 2014 10:57 PM
    Love the 7-inch "phone"...
  • 0 Hide
    g-unit1111 , January 19, 2014 5:07 PM
    Quote:
    HP continues to be consequent in being in-consequent. "We do phones now, now we don't do anymore". "Now we are back with a "new" phone" - that the market most probably really doesn't need. Refer to the move with buying WebOS and closing it down, I don't remember did they "opened" it at least, but who cares - the thing is outdated and in coma for decades. Would assume that would have been a wise move to at least stay compatible and dual boot even - hey why not??? But at least I hope HP understood why they turned from a very attractive high end company to mid-level to low cost player - if their laptops were designed in this (Slate6 VoiceTab) way they would be elsewhere. VoiceTab??? Who came with that name should be sent home. Tasteless. Long. Not standing out. "Hey could pass me my VoiceTab? (...or my Slate6)" Finally: How comes very few understand: it's all about the looks. All about the design. And then comes marketing. Looking onto this particular ""newcomer" at a crowded party" - I believe it will be almost impossible for "him" to find a company if he is not cheap as hell - and he will not be. =) So Thumbs down from me. (period)


    Yeah that bugs the crap out of me. I have a Web OS tablet which I bought in HP's fire sale way back when. Web OS has the best multitasking of any operating system out there - that includes iOS, Android, and WP8. If it had been in the right hands, it could have been something truly great. Instead HP turned it into another RIM. :ange: 
  • 1 Hide
    ap3x , January 23, 2014 4:24 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Im disappointed, I heard months ago that they were heading back into the smartphone market and they said they were coming with something innovative. What I was expecting was a Windows 8 phone with a physical keyboard which no one has yet, not a me too Samsung Galaxy Note.
    I wish they had brought back Web OS, they had a truly great thing going with that and flushed it down the toilet.
    Quote:
    Beautiful design... but oh no, not Yet Another Android crapware phone.Come on HP... keep WebOS alive!!Come on Samsung... keep Bada alive!!
    If any of you actually used WebOS on a phone or actually used the HP Pre phone you would no be saying that. WebOS was no where near Android, WP8, or IOS. There is a reason why many people who bought the discontinued tablet for $99 almost immediately put CyanogenMod Android on it. Was their some elements on the OS that was good..sure. The flick up to close the app was good but there was much more that was a way's off from being anything that remotely competes with the big 3. I was an HP employee at the time and we where forced to use the Pre as they would not support competing products. (understandable). Many people just bought their own phone and footed the bill every month instead of using the Pre and allowing HP to pay the phone bill. That all changed when they decided to exit.Also, WebOS is still alive and well. It is just open source now. HP also acquired the OS as apart of the Palm acquisition in case you did not know.
  • 0 Hide
    invlem , February 5, 2014 4:18 PM
    I'm sorry but you can't call a 7" device anything but a tablet... 6" is really pushing the boundaries already.If it doesn't fit in a pocket, its not a phone or any hybrid of a phone... If you can stuff a 7" tablet in your pocket, then you must be wearing XXXL pants or something.
  • 0 Hide
    Hannabal , February 13, 2014 9:06 PM
    The design is great, the dual sim card with some kind of standby mode would be fantastic. Save on alot of battery for sure. However.... The specs that the "interview" turned up are quite a letdown. 16gb internal with no support for a 64gb SD? 1280x800 on a 7" screen? Comes with Jellybean?? This would be an awesome phone 1 year ago. The Galaxy note blows this out of the water, and its been out for ages...Sorry HP, a day late, and a buck short.
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