HP Eyeing a Return to the Smartphone Business


Hewlett-Packard is not done with smartphones – at least according to one executive.

In an interview with The Indian Express, Yam Su Yin, a senior director for consumer PC and media tablets at HP, told the paper that HP will tackle smartphones once again.

“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,” Yin said in response to a question about whether or not the company would get back into the smartphone game.

In a statement, a spokeswoman said that “HP will expand to additional mobility categories and form factors where we believe we can offer differentiated value to our customers. We will bring smartphones to market but are not giving a timetable.”

HP has, of course, already tried its hand at smartphones. In April 2010, it spent $1.2 billion to acquire Palm and its webOS platform – which former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein recently called a “waste.” By Feb. 2011, it unveiledthe HP TouchPad tablet and two WebOS smartphones, the HP Veer and the Pre 3.

The TouchPad, however, had trouble competing against the iPad, while the smartphones got lost amongst the iPhone and Android devices. By Aug. 2011, HP announced that it would discontinue support for webOS devices, including the TouchPad tablet. The subsequent TouchPad fire sales, which priced the tablet at $99 and $149 – ironically made the TouchPad a hot item for a brief time.

As for webOS, HP decided in Dec. 2011 – after some back and forth – that it would open-source webOS instead of selling the platform to the highest bidder. Last year, HP announcedthe launch of its Open webOS beta version, while HP’s webOS Global Business Unit (GBU)was reborn as a new company known as Gram.

HP’s overall struggle to turn things around, meanwhile, continued in the second quarter as the computing giant reported double-digit year-over-year declines in revenue and net income. Whether or not a return to mobile can turn things around or will sink HP deeper into a financial hole remains to be seen.

Sources by: pcmag