Hewlett Packard, one of the world’s leading PC makers, is once again entering the mobile space after the WebOS debacle.
According to ReadWrite, HP is reportedly taking up Google’s Android OS for a series of upcoming mobile devices. While it could be termed as a last-ditch effort by HP to stay relevant in the post-PC era, it’s also a big win for Google. Yet another influential partner to the Android ecosystem can only help the Mountain View company in the smartphone and tablet market.
Could an Android tablet help reverse HP's fortunes?
HP’s first Android device is rumoured to be a high-end tablet, powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 chip, and could be announced soon after the Mobile World Congress event, according to two anonymous sources. The tablet, which has been developed since late last year could be one of the first tablets to ship with the Tegra 4 chip.
The sources also say that company is exploring the launch of an Android-powered smartphone, but CEO Meg Whitman has in the past been reluctant about confirming that HP will offer a mobile phone this year. So chances of a HP smartphone release in 2013 are slim.
When contacted by ReadWrite, HP declined to comment on their plans, but those who have kept a close eye on the company shouldn’t be surprised by murmurs of an Android tablet. However, the website says, "HP is holding private meetings during the Mobile World Congress in Barcleona, Spain, later this month, and it might show off the new Android tablet there behind closed doors. But we were told not to expect an official announcement until after the show. Look for more details in the coming weeks.”
HP, which acquired Palm in 2010, has had a fleeting affair with Android with some HP TouchPads, the WebOS tablet, shipping mysteriously with Android installed instead. More recently, the company released its first ever Chrome OS notebook the Pavilion 14 Chromebook in a move to branch out beyond Windows.
HP’s financial troubles have been well-publicised. The company is in the middle of a restructuring that could see nearly a tenth of its workforce laid off. The move to Android could be a last punt at regaining lost ground in mobile communication, where the likes of Apple and Samsung have pulled way ahead of the competition. After the Palm acquisition, the resulting WebOS products were unequivocal failures and HP decided to stop making mobile devices and opened up the source for the ailing OS.
“HP supporting Android at this point in time is deeply strategic,” Ben Bajarin, Principal analyst covering consumer market intelligence and trends for Creative Strategies, told the website. “As any vendor who has history in the PC industry knows, it can be rough when you are completely dependent on only one OS platform provider. It worked out well during the PC growth period because Windows was the standard computing platform. That is no longer the case when it comes to mobile computing where Android is the leading licensable mobile OS platform.”
“The reality is that if HP, or any vendor for that matter, wants to have a relevant tablet / mobile strategy, it has to include Android.”