HP to pursue consumer tablets after all with new Mobility division

HP to pursue consumer tablets after all with new Mobility division

Summary: Undeterred by the failure of its TouchPad slate, the company hires an ex-Nokia executive to head the new unit.

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Just as HP appeared to be staking its tablet strategy entirely on enterprise-based Windows 8 models, the tech giant has thrown us another curve ball. According to an internal memo provided to The Verge, Hewlett-Packard has created a new Mobility division that's been charged with pursuing consumer tablets and related devices.

The Mobility unit, writes HP exec Todd Bradley, will be headed by Alberto Torres, who ran Nokia's MeeGo operation. In addition to consumer slates, Bradley says the division will be charged with looking at "additional segments and categories where we believe we can offer differentiated value to our customers." The Windows 8 tablets group, as well as the notebooks division, will not be merged into the new Mobility unit.

HP bombed with its last consumer tablet, the TouchPad, which ran on the webOS platform that the company acquired from Palm. Oddly enough, HP just announced that it was spinning its webOS operations into a new company -- and that both would take the Gram moniker.

HP has shown no interest in producing a Windows RT tablet -- which would put it in direct competition with Microsoft's Surface RT -- so what will its new consumer tablets run whenever they appear? Could it go round two with webOS, though this time as the not-yet-soiled Gram operating system? (Though it appears HP isn't interested in supporting the open source webOS on its existing devices.) Would it try to hop on the Android bandwagon, which would have it competing against the likes of Google, Samsung, and Amazon?

Does the hiring of Torres mean that the company will have the MeeGo OS, which hasn't found much success to date, power a consumer slate? Or will HP throw another curve ball and actually turn out a Windows RT tablet after all? What do you think HP should do to make a splash in the consumer tablet market (if that's possible)? Tell us in the Talkback section below.

 

 

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Mobility, Tablets

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Talkback

14 comments
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  • It's gotta be...

    It's gotta be either an Win RT tablet, or an Android tablet, or a combination of Windows and Android tablets.

    The idea that HP would pursue a MeeGo tablet after failing so miserably with its own (by all accounts elegant and capable) OS, is just laughable. And the idea that HP would attempt to resurrect its own OS after so unceremoniously dumping it the last time at the first signs of trouble is almost as ludicrous. Why on earth would anyone invest in a WebOS (excuse me, Gram OS) device when HP proved themselves to have such an itchy finger with the gun they had pointed to their own development efforts? Fool me once... you know the rest.

    With Android, at least you know that there's a future for your device even if HP decides to deep six it after five months. Let's face it, most people still using HP Slates are probably running Cyanogenmod on them anyway. With Windows RT, again, you know there'll be an app ecosystem for them a year from now.

    So my bet is that HP follows the lead of ASUS, Acer, Lenovo et all and releases some Android and Windows RT devices.
    dsf3g
  • it would fascinating..

    to see a new revamped webOS tablet on the market but I honestly think they'll go straight for Windows RT and the Intel version of it.
    sgamao
  • it will be another failure

    HP has no plan. Might as well call it the meewebgort/os. With android running as a process. It won't make any difference. This company has great people, but is like a body without head. Very sad.
    billy_kidd
  • Windows RT: They must have been drawn in by $199 Surface tablets

    It won't be Android as HP is not a member of the Open Handset Alliance:

    http://www.openhandsetalliance.com/oha_members.html

    And, given that they acquired Palm, why would they have joined?

    Do they want to be Android outsiders like Barnes & Noble, Amazon and ArchOS? I think not.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Go make this happen

    So instead of giving the PC Division another chance to screw this up, they hired a headhunter to find a "consumer tech" guy to lead a new division. Now they have a totally separate P&L line that lives or dies by how well they are able to compete for consumer business.

    Big companies do this when the existing fiefdoms inside the company won't get serious about something that executive management wants done. In this case it was probably the major accounts sales force that didn't take tablets seriously, yanked the marketing dollars away from the TouchPad, etc.

    Microsoft could have this problem. Are the Surface RTs in the hands of the Xbox guys, the mouse-and-keyboard guys, or the same people who will be taking the 'Pro' units into IT shops?
    Robert Hahn
  • WebOS failed because

    WebOS failed because HP did an absolutely abysmal job at building the WebOS app library. no ecosystem, no success. with Windows 8 they don't have to build the ecosystem; MS will do it for them. Now they can stick to what they know- making average hardware.
    theoilman
    • and on the off chance it's not a Windows 8 project...

      then I'm sure they'll bomb it just like their first shot at WebOS
      theoilman
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    james265987
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    james265987
  • If they go with WRT they'll make boat loads of cash. If they go with

    anything else they'll make nothing. So Im hoping for their sake they choose WRT, bitter pill as that may be for an ex nokia meego exec and ex webos underlings if there are any of those left around.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Secret Method Revealed

      Perhaps you would care to explain to the benighted executives at HP how they are going to make "boatloads of cash" on Windows tablets when they don't make squat on Windows PCs. What, specifically, is going to be different? Will Lenovo and Dell stay away this time? Will Microsoft give HP a special price on Windows licenses that Lenovo and Dell don't get? Will HP parlay its gigantic volume purchases of touchscreens into a price advantage? How is this going to happen?
      Robert Hahn
      • Mr. Hahn

        Don't hold your breath on Mr. Vegas getting back to you on this.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Meego/WebOS or Ubuntu Mobile

    I vote anything Linux (besides Android). HP won't be able to compete with the over saturated tablet market that is Android. In fact, to even come out with a CONSUMER tablet is going to probably fail. Focus on a business centered device, and if you want to go consumer... Build a smartphone. But don't just R&D it in 6 months and push it out for sales. Don't release until your product is amazing! Put the investment in if you really want to succeed. And don't think about Android because if you try to compete with Samsung and Googorola you will not succeed.
    Tpimp
  • Feed the dogs

    I think it's down to the question of how many lawyers do you feed. Android will bring out the Apple bullies. WebOS will bring out both Apple and Microsoft bullies. Going Windows8/rt/x86 is probably the only way to go without loosing all your profits in leagle bills.

    Nice world we created.
    peterbcarter