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Whitman: No new HP smartphone coming in 2013

HP chief executive Meg Whitman, weeks after saying the company has to "offer a smartphone," says one won't be coming any time soon.
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Written by Zack Whittaker, Writer-editor on

HP will not dish out a new smartphone in the coming year, said chief executive Meg Whitman yesterday at an analyst's day, but the firm will eventually offer a device to avoid falling behind the curve. 

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webOS-powered Palm Pre, a discontinued HP smartphone. Credit: HP

Whitman said earlier this year in a Fox Business Network interview that the world's largest PC maker by shipments would "have to offer a smartphone," and hinted that a device may already be in the pipeline after stating the firm was "working on" getting a smartphone on the market. 

When asked at the analyst day on Wednesday, Whitman acknowledged that her previous remarks had caused a "stir," and scaled back earlier comments. 

"We don't have any plans to introduce a smartphone in 2013, but we've got to start thinking about what is our unique play, how do we capture this element of the personal computing market?" she said, according to reports. Noting the possibility of a future smartphone, she said that failing to enter the smartphone market in the next "five years from now," HP could be "locked out of a huge segment of the population in many countries of the world."

During the talk, shares in the company fell by as much as 13 percent to record low levels of $14 a share at market open today. HP's price target was also lowered $20.50 to $15 by CLSA analysts after the spectacular fall on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday.

Former HP CEO Léo Apotheker said last year it would sell off the firm's Personal Systems Group, the unit that builds PC products and webOS-based smartphones. The computing giant then cut 500 jobs at its webOS division in 2011 following the news. 

HP ultimately reversed the decision, under the new leadership of Whitman, keeping its consumer electronics and PCs on the go, but left Palm and webOS to fallow in the open-source community. 

Last month, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek warned that "aggressively attack[ing]" the smartphone and tablet market would damage HP's balance sheets, dubbing the move "risky."

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