Android 4.0.4-powered HP "Bender" device shows up in benchmark logs *sigh*
Just this morning HP CEO Meg Whitman's statement about how HP "will ultimately have to offer a smartphone" started making the rounds. Unsurprisingly, that sort of promlamation was sure to get the tech sphere talking, and it kicked up a good amount of dust here on webOS Nation. The general consensus: HP already has what they need to make a good smartphone, and that is webOS.
Alas, we concluded right away that a new HP smartphone running webOS was less likely than getting CrackBerry Kevin to stay off of BlackBerry devices for longer than a day - it's just not going to happen. So what seemed most likely? Given HP's long and profitable relationship with Microsoft, Windows Phone 8 seemed to be the logical choice. Turns out there's a chance we were wrong with that call, and we're both surprised to learn it and stunned it happened so quickly. Almost too qickly, if you ask us.
Whitman's statement yesterday resulted today in the publishing of a GLBenchmark log containing a 'bender' device manufactured by none other than 'hp' and running Android 4.0.4. Color us surprised, and skeptical. Not surprised so much that HP's got a new smartphone in development, but that it's running Android. This HP Bender (we're assuming a codename, though Bender could make for an awesomely fun device name) has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 processor, one of Qualcomm's dual core Snapdragon S4 chips. The Bender also has a 1366x720 display, a bit taller than what would be required for a '720p HD' display, and likely in the 4+ inch category, though hopefully not much bigger than that. 1366x720 is an odd resolution for a smartphone though, we've seen it in some Android-powered tablets recently, but most smartphones these days top out at 1280x720. 17:9 is a weirdly tall aspect ratio.
Of course, it's possible that somebody could have faked these results into the logs - it wouldn't take much effort or time to do so. Given Whitman's statements on HP and smartphones, such trickery wouldn't come as a total shock, and the timing is suspect to say the last. But replaying the interview, we couldn't help but noticed how well rehearsed, nuanced, and thorough Whitman's statement was on HP smartphones. It's like she expected to be asked about smartphones, almost as if the HP CEO had purposefully seeded the idea in her Fox Business interviewer's thoughts during the preceding commercial break. Sure, Whitman's both a politician (though not successful) and high-powered CEO, but these sort of interviews aren't exactly the no-holds-barred type either. Maybe we're reading too much into it - we are desperate for news, after all.
HP did recently form a new Mobility Global Business Unit under the Printing and Personal Systems division to tackle exactly this sort of project. They're already working on the next generation of Windows 8 tablets for HP, and if HP were to be working on a smartphone, the Mobility GBU is where we'd expect it to happen. After all, the webOS GBU doesn't have any hardware engineers, they sure couldn't develop a new smartphone or tablet, even if they wanted to.
Is the HP Bender a real device (again, this wouldn't be difficult to fact, and the timing is suspect), due to hit shelves sometime in the not-so-distant future? Hard to say, really, but if Meg Whitman wants HP to make smartphones, then there's not much that's going to stop her.