Rumors emerged yesterday that computer maker HP intends to build an Android tablet in the hopes of breaking back into the tablet market. This wouldn’t be their first entrant into the tablet market; the company released the HP TouchPad running the now-defunct WebOS platform in July 2011. The TouchPad failed to steal customers away from the industry-leading iPad at first, though the company infamously held a fire sale to burn through its remaining inventory, and sold out the $100 – $150 tablets within minutes of making it available. People apparently like affordable tablets.
Of course, HP took a loss on every TouchPad sold in the fire sale, and yesterday’s rumors suggest that HP has no intention of targeting the low-end of the market with their upcoming products. According to ReadWrite’s sources, the HP Android tablet would run NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 SoC, a high-end, powerful processing and GPU platform intended for the higher end of the market. As a result, HP’s Android tablet will likely be on the more expensive side, perhaps priced similarly to Apple’s iPad.
If this turns out to be true, we could see the TouchPad situation play out all over again, as Android’s surge in the tablet market has been driven by low-end devices such as the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, with the higher-end devices failing to gain significant traction. If the tablet does in fact target the high-end market, HP may find there isn’t really a market to be had, and could find themselves once again sitting on lots of unsold inventory. HP is close to announcing their upcoming tablet according to the sources, perhaps even showing it off privately to press at Mobile World Congress later this month, so we should know more about HP’s intents shortly.
The more significant rumor suggests that HP may also be working on an Android smartphone for 2014, though CEO Meg Whitman has recently stated they don’t plan on entering the smartphone market this year. Should HP be exploring entering the Android smartphone market, they will likely find slim pickings to be had there as well. Several manufacturers are already pumping out Android smartphones, with just one (Samsung) taking home a significant majority of handset sales in 2012. HTC, LG, ZTE, Huawei, and many others are fighting for customers not won over by Samsung’s Android offerings, leaving little room for yet another, albeit established, company looking to sell smartphones.
So can HP be successful in the smartphone or tablet market by adopting Android. Unless the company has some tricks up its sleeves, all signs point to no.
This article was written by Anthony Domanico
Anthony is the Editor in Chief of Techgress, and a big mobile and gaming geek. He's covered mobile technology for the better part of three years, and gets excited about shiny, new things. He currently uses an iPhone, iPad Mini, and Nexus 7, but Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry devices are never too far away.