HP to get back into the mobile space with Android?

When HP bought Palm in 2010 it was uncertain which direction the company would take. At that time, Palm was still trying to bank on its WebOS platform and it had just launched the TouchPad. As fine as that device was — especially for those of us who like tinkering with these things — it didn’t do enough to help save the company, or WebOS. HP ended up trashing the OS, though, and it saddled the employees who didn’t leave up into a subsidiary named Gram.

Welp, here we are — nearly three years later — and the computer vendor might finally be looking to jump back into the game in a proper way. Sources speaking to ReadWrite have apparently confirmed that HP will build tablets and smartphones.

We imagine HP will attempt to start out in emerging markets to test the waters, but the company could eventually branch out with a full-blown line down the road. HP would look to do this with Android at the helm, apparently — a fine choice if we don’t say so ourselves. The company would also employ NVIDIA’s Tegra platform.

HP says it would be foolish of them to stay in the past when the computing industry is evolving as quickly as it is. Traditional laptop and desktop computers are fine, but the industry is clearly fine with letting tablets and smartphones do most of the heavy lifting, and the OEM would be sorry if it were to let that opportunity slide.

There’s an uphill battle to face with the likes of Apple and Samsung on the phone side, and Apple, Samsung and ASUS running things on the tablet side for the time being, so whatever HP’s plan is we don’t expect it to make drastic waves overnight. Where do you see HP sitting in the mobile realm 3 years from now?

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  • NIGHTSCOUT

    WebOS was a failure, and so was the TouchPad. In more ways than 1. The software was garbage, and the hardware on the TouchPad was also garbage. I owned one for a few weeks. My point is, if they want to survive in a mobile market, they better have a more solid approach. Vanilla Android, and heavy duty hardware. Please don’t add a WebOS skin…..

    • http://twitter.com/JBravo49 Johnny Bravo

      WebOS was far from a failure as an operating system. It’s been a over since the TouchPad was released and the UI is still smoother than Android on my GS3… Its hardware was pretty heavy duty when it came it out and would still hold its own if compared to today’s tablets.

      • NIGHTSCOUT

        Really? Those speakers placed in the most oddly possibly way? They got damaged easily, and they had sharp edges that made it uncomfortable to hold.

        • camelsnot

          they hurt your widdle hands? I didn’t know the speakers were outside of the shell where they could hurt you. Strange.

    • TimmyB44

      WebOS failed, not because it was garbage. Nearly every “innovation” that iOS and Android have brought to the table were on the first Palm Pre. The card metaphor was simply fantastic, true multi-tasking. It failed because HP is, and has been for the past decade, a complete failure. Of all of the companies that could have purchased Palm, HP was about the worst. Sadly, they were the ones dumb enough to cough up $2B for it, which no one in their right mind would. If they had been bought by Google (or even Apple), so many things of that OS would have been immediately adopted. Instead, Leo the idiot makes a decision to get out of the business after less than one month selling tablets! As for the hardware, it wasn’t garbage, it was just 6-12 months behind where it should have been, which (as we ALL know) is an eternity.

      • NIGHTSCOUT

        The casing on the TouchPad was brittle, scratched and cracked easily. Not to mention the horrid speaker placement

        • DAngelo8

          My HP Touchpad is still immaculate after 16 months.

    • ZzBallykingzZ

      WebOS was garbage…hog wash!!! WebOS was…at the time…the best mobile OS out there. I believe that Android has surpassed WebOS with Jelly Bean but WebOS still has some feature that I wish my Android phone had (such as true multitasking). HP was garbage for their mishandling of both the platform and hardware.

      • NIGHTSCOUT

        Pfff…..Ok….As if Android does not have true multi-tasking. Android had it since February 22nd 2011, Read: Honeycomb 3.0

        • yankeesusa

          Nobody is saying that android didn’t have multitasking, what they are saying is that webos had a smoother multitasking feature and as far as the build for the touchpad, your right there are some things they could have fixed on it but do to problems at hp they nixed it and didn’t come out with another build. The cards feature was ahead of its game and it actually is still better than the ios multitasking if you can call it that.

    • yankeesusa

      Do a little research there. Webos was one of the best os around when it came to smoothnesss, ui and multitasking. Only problem with it was the company that took over didn’t really put money on it and entice developers to come to it. If that had been the case I would still have my touchpad. to me webos was awesome and most people that used it will say the same thing, its just developers did not go for it and thats why it failed, not to mention hp had no idea what they were doing.

  • DavidVarghese

    Yeah… Good luck making a decent profit HP with the heavy hitters like Samsung, Asus, and HTC around.

    • TechGuy22

      HTC dont make tabs anymore. last tab they made was crappy as hell. if HP advertise, add new stuff to their tablets. they can even beat sammy.

      • DavidVarghese

        I really doubt that… but I’m no fortune teller… lol

        • camelsnot

          They have a long ways to go to beat sammy.. but throw away HTC. Asus doesn’t market their stuff enough to be a true force. Samsung is really the only Android tablet maker these days making commercials and going all out on advertising. Moto stopped doing it a couple years back after the Xoom lost traction. HP at least knows how to advertise. Asus does not. HTC is still trying to find themselves. Done.

          • DavidVarghese

            If you read the article… it said that HP wants to make BOTH tablets and smartphones. Yes, HTC sucks at making tablets… Smartphones however, I personally think their smartphones are top notch. Asus is starting to make a big splash in the tablet market (with the Nexus 7 and Transformer series), and I would kill to have their Padphone 2 device(s)…
            So yes, HP has a long way to go to get a market share with companies like Samsung, HTC, and Asus.

            Le Fin.

  • zifnab

    I think they could make their mark if they plan right. Considering Huwei just popped up to number 3 its clear anyone can come up. Taking the number 1 and 2 spot is another matter all together. It will take many many years for HP to even come close to touching the top.

  • KOLIO

    I think if they aim for the higher-end of the market,they may do well enough to stay in the game,especially as the lines between phone/tablet/laptop/desktop become blurred even more.

  • Rdfry

    Web OS was a very good OS, the real problem was palm screwed up with the crappie pre, by the time HP took over Android was cruising and it was too late.

  • shonangreg

    With the proportion of the computing market that is tablets (and phones) creeping up and up, HP, and DELL, have no choice. They have to enter the tablet market. The only question is what OS do they support.

    I’m an android fan, but if I were making the decisions, I’d put 60% of my resources into android, 30% into Windows, and 10% into ubuntu and firefox and anything else.

    Android is the only one with a predictable path. Windows might remain a niche player, and it certainly doesn’t have the market share now to justify betting the company on it. Any potential success for Windows on tablets is still a year or two in the future. So, any responsible executive is going to go with android as the main offering and Windows as a side bet just in case it catches on somehow . . .

    Coming from a history of producing PC’s with “vanilla” OSes, I think DELL and HP need to put out limited hardware variations using standard components along with guarantees of at least three years of timely android updates.

    Then it will be up to google and app developers to get android tablets better able to compete in the office space. The blindspots are real, and some of them absurdly simple: Android soft keyboards still don’t have shortcuts for pasting text, for example. Why, on Jellybean, do I still have problems pasting text occasionally? Why has no one conquered the cursor placement/keyboard shortcut challenges yet?

    If the above is how it plays out, then in one to three years, android tablets and iPads will still be dominating the market, and they will both be easily married to keyboards and mice — and cursors and keyboard shortcuts will finally be working.

    What other choice is there?

    Phones will follow this pattern but their evolution will be delayed due to the cell carriers continuing their attempts at preserving their own power.

  • Biancoceleste

    From what I saw, the HP tablet wasn’t bad. I can’t remember the price though.

    I’d rather HP used one of the less popular operating systems on their hardware.. There are already so many android tablets on the market.
    Ubuntu looked interesting in the videos of it that I saw.

  • Indy_Medic

    I for one currently own two HP touchpads running Cyanogen (sp?). I have to say that for the price (about $200) its an excellent tablet. Both have 32 GB storage and show zero lag or redraw. I agree the edges of the speakers are a little bit sharp but if its uncomfortable, turn it over and the problem goes away. I have steamed many movies on this tablet while at work with no problems. I did use the webOS for a while and really enjoyed it. Obviously Android has more gaming options and is why I’m running Android. If HP came out with a reasonably priced Android tablet I would consider passing mine onto my son.

  • http://profiles.google.com/gremlyn1 Colin Burton

    Quentyn, you really have to stop using ‘welp’. It is NOT a word! You seem to use it in every post I’ve read lately, and its driving me nuts. Please, please, please stop.

  • Steve

    EVERYBODY must focus on products and consumers, not on profits. And profits will follow.

  • camelsnot

    Congratz to HP for stepping back into the game. they are a competitor with a lot of dev money to push past phony OEMs like toshiba, acer and others. Hopefully they can compete with an attractive price point, or else it will be pointless.

  • Kc

    luxtechblog.blogspot.com