At the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona on Monday, HP finally revealed its grand plan to take on the iPhone, making good on a promise Meg Whitman made way back in 2012 to get HP into the smartphone market.
The company is launching a new smartphone device in 10 markets by the end of summer, including the US and Canada. But it’s not another Android phone.
It’s based on Microsoft’s Windows 10 and it’s more like what we’d call a super smartphone, meaning a super high-end, and, likely super high-priced device.
And it’s not as crazy as it sounds.
HP’s new HP Elite x3 is intended to be a new category of “all-in one” device for business user that can replaces their smartphone, tablet/notebook and a desktop PC.
On its own, it’s a smartphone geared for office work, about the size of an iPhone 6 plus, with a powerful Snapdragon 820 processor and a huge, all-day battery, which is 30% larger than the battery in the iPhone, Michael Park, HP’s VP of commercial mobility products tells Business Insider.
The device can also be used with two kinds of docking stations. One of the docking stations allows you to plug a large keyboard, monitor, Ethernet and so on into the phablet-sized smartphone.
The other is called the “mobile extender” and it includes a screen and keyboard and connects wirelessly with the smartphone and turns it into laptop.
On top of that, HP is offering some special software that creates a private app store where employees can access their PC apps over their networks if their companies are already set up to do that sort of app streaming.
And when you plug the phone into a docking station, it switches from the mobile version of any app, say Office 365, to the desktop version.
Plus, through HP’s partnership with Salesforce, the device will be preinstalled with the Salesforce1 app. When docked, it will switch to the PC/cloud version of Salesforce as well.
This is an interesting take on the smartphone but its not the first time the smartphone+docking station idea was tried. Motorola had a device way back in 2011 called the Atrix that did much the same thing. Reviewers loved the idea, but it was buggy, expensive and never caught on and Motorola killed the device about a year later.
Park wouldn’t comment on how much the HP Elite x3 device will cost, except to say that it will be more affordable than buying a PC, a smartphone and tablet as separate devices.
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