Editorial by Andrew Kameka on Thursday February 14, 2013.
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HP's previous foray into tablets lead to disappointing results and a Touchpad fire sale when the company gave up on the mobile device business. New reports suggest HP will make a return to the tablet industry, only it will do so with Google's Android operating system, not its own webOS.
ReadWrite and TheVerge both report that its sources say that HP is developing a tablet that will be powered by Android and NVIDIA's Tegra 4 processor. The rumored tablet would be a "high-end" device, according to ReadWrite, and would likely to be announced later this year.
It might sound crazy that HP would try yet again to release a tablet considering its embarrassing exit from the industry, but HP has millions of reasons to try. Though Apple's iPad has a strong grip on the tablet market, the industry is expected to grow at a rate that would make even second place a worthwhile position to pursue.IDC has predicted that Android tablets will overtake the iPad by 2015, and Gartner estimates that enterprise sales of tablets will account for 35 percent of tablet sales that same year. Both trends bode well for HP, a company that already has a strong footprint in the enterprise market and sells millions of desktop computers and laptops to businesses. Why not try to sell those same companies tablets as well?
The Touchpad failed for a variety of reasons - price, timing, and marketing among other causes - but HP might find a more welcoming industry with an Android device. Success is by no means assured considering that practically no one is achieving massive sales with high-end Android tablets, but HP doesn't need massive sales; it just needs performance strong enough to warrant more investment and progress. A Windows RT or Windows 8 tablet might be in the cards for the sake of pitching integration and consistency, but Android already has a larger audience than Windows RT. HP bet on the wrong operating system before and it will probably want to avoid relying on one up-and-comer, even one with the weight of Microsoft behind it, so releasing an Android tablet seems like a sensible choice.
HP has flirted with the idea of becoming just a software and services company and spinning out its hardware business, but until that happens, the company needs to take steps to grow the hardware business. The rise in tablet and smartphone sales are chipping away at the reliance on desktop computing, so HP cannot afford to sit idly while the iPad proliferates in office meetings and on living room couches as well. CEO Meg Whitman made it clear that HP would eventually have to enter the smartphone market because of the evolving methods of computing, and reports indicate that HP has placed equal importance on tablets.via: ReadWrite
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.