Hewlett-Packard plans to rejoin the smartphone space

Hewlett-Packard plans to rejoin the smartphone space

Summary: Tech giant HP is planning to re-enter the smartphone race with a new product offering.

hewlett packard enter smartphone market webos android

Hewlett-Packard hasn't developed a smartphone since killing off WebOS in 2011, but the firm is working on a new device to entice consumers and re-enter the race.

At an event in Beijing, HP Senior Director of Consumer PC and Media Tablets Asia Pacific Yam Su Yin told news agency PTI that it would be "silly" for the company to ignore the lucrative smartphone market.

When asked if a smartphone will join the PCs that HP offers consumers, Yam said:

"The answer is yes but I cannot give a timetable. It would be silly if we say no. HP has to be in the game."

HP placed its mobile device bets on the popularity of WebOS after purchasing creator Palm in 2010. However, products using WebOS were discontinued, including the TouchPad tablet line and smartphones such as the Pre and Pixi just 13 months later.

Considering the failure of WebOS, it is likely HP will turn to Android to run future mobile devices. HP already sells a number of Android-operated products, including a Chromebook and 7-inch tablet.

According to IDC, Android claims 69 percent of worldwide marketshare, whereas Apple's iOS marketshare -- second in popularity -- declined from 25 percent in 2012 to 20 percent in Q1 2013.

The smartphone market, although perhaps congested, remains lucrative as companies tap into emerging markets including Brazil and China. However, arriving late to the game, the PC maker will face fierce competition by established smartphone makers such as Apple and Samsung -- which together hold the majority of smartphone marketshare.

According to Yam, there may be an advantage to this -- as the company can study products currently on sale and do more to entice consumers. Yam said:

"Being late you have to create a different set of proposition. There are still things that can be done. Its not late. When HP has a smartphone, it will give a differentiated experience."

Topics: Mobility, Hewlett-Packard, Smartphones

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  • "Congested" It Ain't!

    Look at Gartner's recent report showing that smartphones grew over 40% year-on-year, and words like "congested" and "saturated" seem somehow ... inappropriate.
    • RE: Congested

      Compare the number of companies that can actually turn a profit making Android phone to the number that cannot and terms like congested sounds appropriate.

      The Android herd needs to thin out so that a few companies can start competing more effectively against Samsung.
      • Re: the number of companies that can actually turn a profit making Android

        ALL the Android OEMs are turning a profit from it. Name one who isn't.
  • webOS

    What HP did with Palm remains one of the great tragedies of mobile.
    x I'm tc
    • webOs

      I really expected the fire-sale to be a marketing ploy to generate buzz and break into the market. And it might have worked, those tablets all flew off the shelves. It would have put them in a position to be a player in the market, whether they would have held that spot or not we can only guess.

      When it wasn't a marketing ploy and really was a "screw this, we're done" after a month I was just...shocked.
  • use WP8, use WP8!

    (just kidding)
  • differentiated or android - you can't have both...

    It is a nice thought

    but does the market really believe that HP is capable of delivering a (good) differentiated experience smartphone?

    This is the exact opportunity they had with webOS, and they showed they were not willing to invest in it. Basically the showed that innovation was not part of their company DNA. Which is OK, the business market, and education, and government are three very large markets that want large volumes of reliable "vanilla" technology, often in "executive" form factors, which HP has shown itself to be very capable of producing.

    Plus there is no real ability to produce a differentiated experience if you are going to sell an android smartphone. There are small differences between the current HTC, Samsung, Sony, etc smartphones, but there is not a strong differentiated experience between them
    But the only truly differentiated experience HP computing has stepped up with in the last decade was webOS, and I think they were clearly demonstrated at that time, and more recently with the very "me too" below average android tablet (slate 7) they have released, that a HP smartphone with a (good) differentiated experience is very unlikely.
    • Re: differentiated or android - you can't have both...

      Funny, there have been people insisting Android is "fragmented"--presumably that means too much "differentiation" between Android devices. Yet here you are, insisting that Android cannot be "differentiated" at all. So which is it? You Android-bashers need to get your story straight!
      • Fragmented or not, Android is a dead OS walking...

        and if HP or any other company wishes to use the already crowded Android marketplace, then, they shortly afterwards will be looking for another strategy.

        However, if the people at HP had any kind of smarts, they would create smartphones that come with the option to either run Android or WP8. With Android going away in about 3-4 years, HP should have a fail-safe strategy.

        Alternately, HP could and should decide to purchase Blackberry, which is not doing so well, but has an excellent product with their new hardware and OS. It might sound like another webOS/Palm failure would ensue, but, Blackberry is still a respected company with a respected product and which shows some signs of life. However, I doubt HP is in position to take a major risk like purchasing Blackberry. But, it's also very risky to go with Android, since they'll be "just another Android player" with no expectation of really getting anything out of it.
        • HP buying BB

          HP doesn't have a great track record of buying other companies. Would the current board really want to risk it?