HP famously acquired Palm only to kill off webOS shortly after. The company basically drove the OS into the ground largely because it failed to get devices to market as soon as promised. It also was never very good at wooing new developers and building hype around its platform, but that’s a discussion for another day. Now, HP is again reportedly eying the smartphone market.
According to The Information, HP wants to release phablets with 6-inch and 7-inch screen sizes before the end of this year, the latter of which is probably far too large for most U.S. folks to consider a daily driver smartphone. Thankfully, it’s not the U.S. HP is seeking: Apparently the company is aiming to release the contract-free phones in emerging smartphone markets such as the Philippines, China and India. China will be a particularly hard battleground to fight on. Local phone makers like Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE and others are fighting daily with Samsung and, soon, with Apple on China Mobile. Anything is possible, but we can’t forget that HP CEO Meg Whitman said HP had no plans to release smartphones in 2013. That was more than a year ago, however, so maybe things have changed.
In any case, China’s a huge market for Android, so we suspect webOS is still mostly dead (save for its life on non-smartphones, like LG’s new smart TVs). Can HP compete against everyone else? It wasn’t able to last time, though perhaps it has a new playbook.