Despite a long absence, HP appears to be set to make its way back into the smartphone business. During a conversation with The Indian Express, HP’s Senior Director Consumer PC and Media Tablets Asia Pacific Yam Su Yin stated that the company is actively working on a new smartphone. “”The answer is yes, but I cannot give a timetable,” Yin said. “It would be silly if we say no. HP has to be in the game.”
This isn’t the first time HP has made its intention to re-enter the smartphone space known. CEO Meg Whitman previously stated that the company had not given up on the smartphone market. And with desktop and laptop sales slowing, and smartphone sales continuing to grow, it makes sense for HP to attempt to erase the bad memories from its webOS disaster.
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But making your intentions known and putting forth a battle plan are two different monsters. Avi Greengart, research director with Current Analysis, says HP needs to actually come forward with how it intends to take on market leaders like Samsung and Apple, if it wants to make headway in the space.
“If they say here is what makes us different, here’s how we get apps, here are our target markets, here is how we expand, then I’m all ears. All I’ve head so far is, ‘I think we need to get into this’,” Greengart said.
Above all, though, HP needs to differentiate itself from a crowded marketplace. “They understand that the differentiation is needed, but you are going to have to tell me what that differentiation is. If they are coming to me and say we are going to make phones, their chances are small.”
It’s not as though HP has been resting on its laurels on the mobile front. The company currently sells the HP Slate 7, a budget Android tablet, and the more premium SlateBook x2 is hitting shelves later this summer, a Tegra 4-powered Android tablet-laptop combo.
Following the debacle of its $1.2 billion purchase and subsequent killing of Palm’s WebOS platform, it would certainly be more prudent for HP to go with a known winner such as Android or even Windows Phone 8, rather than attempt to create its own ecosystem again.
Still, with Apple and Samsung so thoroughly dominating the smartphone market, how can HP make a dent? “Samsung and Apple are the only ones making money,” stressed Greengart. “LG and Sony are breaking even depending on which quarter you look at, as is HTC. BlackBerry is losing money despite launching a new platform.”