HP hasn’t had a smartphone since it ditched WebOS in 2011, but it sounds like it’s itching to get back into the race.
At an event in Beijing earlier this week, Su-yin Yam, senior director of HP’s consumer business in the Asia-Pacific, was asked if HP was planning to re-enter the smartphone market.
“The answer is yes but I cannot give a timetable,” Yam told Indian news agency PTI in a story published Sunday. “It would be silly if we say no. HP has to be in the game.”
Last September, Meg Whitman said HP would “ultimately” get back into smartphones because it needs a product to sell in developing countries where people aren’t buying notebooks and tablets.
However, HP will face tough competition from Samsung and Apple, which are dominating the US and global smartphone markets.
But Yam says playing catch-up could be an advantage for HP, because it can study shortcomings in current products. “When HP has a smartphone, it will give a differentiated experience,” she told PTI.
We’ve reached out to HP for more details on its smartphone plans and will update if we hear back.
HP spent $1.2 billion in April 2010 to acquire Palm, maker of WebOS, then basically scuttled the tech a year and a half later after its WebOS powered tablet and two smartphones didn’t sell.
It’s likely that HP, which sold off its last remaining bits of WebOS in February, will choose Android for its re-entry to smartphones.
HP has been working more closely with Google in recent months, and it already sells a Chromebook, a 7-inch Android tablet and 21.5 inch monster touch screen all-in-one PC running Android. HP is planning to launch another Android tablet, called the SlateBook x2, in August.
Android was running on about 75% of the world’s smartphones in the first quarter, according to IDC.
Meanwhile, HP and Microsoft’s longtime partnership has been fraying since the Windows 8 launch. HP execs aren’t talking much about Windows 8 lately, and are instead focusing their attentions on Android.
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