HP to pursue consumer tablets after all with new Mobility division

Undeterred by the failure of its TouchPad slate, the company hires an ex-Nokia executive to head the new unit.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

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.



Editorial standards