The last time HP was in the smartphone business was in 2011 where two WebOS based models were unveiled. This was after the company bought Palm’s WebOS platform for $1.2 billion. The company has since then closed their smartphone division since it didn’t catch on with consumers. A recent statement by a company executive however hints that they are planning to return to the smartphone business.
Speaking during the Press Trust of India, HP’s senior director for consumer PC and media tablets for Asia Pacific Yam Su Yin said when asked about a potential HP smartphone “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.”
This comes as no surprise as HP needs to diversify its products right now. We all know that PC sales are dwindling while sales of mobile devices are increasing. The company needs to get into the game if they want to stay in business.
Yin’s statement echoed what HP CEO Meg Whitman said last September regarding the company’s smartphone ambitions. “We have to ultimately offer a smartphone because in many countries of the world that is your first computing device. “You know, there will be countries around the world where people may never own a tablet, or a PC, or a desktop. They will do everything on the smartphone. We’re a computing company; we have to take advantage of that form factor.”
Being this late in the game how is HP going to compete against the more established brands? Yip hinted that “Being late you have to create a different set of proposition[s]. There are still things that can be done. It’s not late. When HP has a smartphone, it will give a differentiated experience.”
No further details were provided regarding the company’s smartphone plans however there’s a huge possibility that the company will be offering smartphones to emerging markets first. As far as platform of choice, Android is the likely to be used. But with the competition from various Android manufacturers HP must find a way to differentiate their models. One possibility is that with the company’s relationship with Microsoft they may use the Windows Phone platform. There’s going to be a huge possibility of growth here since only a few manufacturers are using this platform.