HP is poised to take another stab at the smartphone market, albeit in emerging markets only, before the year is out, according to the internet rumour mill.
Citing unnamed sources, The Information reported yesterday that HP plans to debut smartphones with six- and seven-inch screens carrying an unsubsidised price of $200-$250 by the end of the year - earlier than many anticipated.
These would be aimed at emerging markets such as India, China and the Philippines.
HP chief executive Meg Whitman has faced questions over HP's smartphone strategy (or lack thereof) ever since she took the helm from bungling predecessor Léo Apotheker in 2011. The world's largest hardware vendor's previous foray into the market with Palm in 2010 was a massive flop.
In comments to analysts 14 months ago, Whitman spoke of the need for HP to revive its efforts in a market worth 722 million units last year according to IDC, although stressed there were no plans to launch any devices before 2014.
"I believe that five years from now, if we don't have a smartphone or whatever the next generation of that device is, we'll be locked out of a huge segment of the population in many countries of the world," she said at the time, according to Computerworld UK.
Although Whitman recently assured the market HP's five-year turnaround plan is on track, a new revenue stream would be welcome for a vendor whose core PC and printer markets are in decline.
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