HP’s latest CEO, Meg Whitman (formerly of eBay), stated that HP wouldn’t have a smartphone out in 2013, but that HP would have to have one in the next five years to avoid completely missing out on “a huge segment of the population.” If you’ll remember, HP purchased the flailing (but innovative) Palm in April of 2010. This purchase created the TouchPad, which ultimately went down in a ball of fire after failing to garner popular support at its $499 price point. After this happened, then-CEO Leo Apotheker decided to can not only Palm’s mobile products and plans, but also HP’s entire personal computer division.
This didn’t end up happening, with various board members rallying against the insanity of Apotheker. These board members eventually chose Whitman as the next CEO, and things have been improving (albeit slowly) at HP. And now, Whitman is showing interest in returning to the smartphone market – they’ve truly come full circle.
But they’ve completed this circle far too late. It’s highly unlikely that HP will ship a webOS-based product ever again, which leaves either Android or Windows Phone. HP has worked with Android in the past, and Microsoft has long been a partner of HP, so it’s a toss-up as to which may prevail in the end. But regardless, it seems ridiculous to think that HP could actually make a dent in the smartphone market after years of not producing such a device. But never say never; anything is possible.