HP's Meg Whitman: "We ultimately have to offer a smartphone"
Yesterday, Fox Business sat down for a very quick chat with HP CEO Meg Whitman. They talked about the cuts that HP's been making to the company, and the new tablets and laptop products that HP's recently announced. And then the interview pivoted into an interesting space: HP smartphones. Asked about if we're ever to see another HP smartphone, Whitman said that, yes, this is something that HP is in fact working on, and that she wants HP to be able to address the full spectrum of computing products, from "workstations to desktops to laptops to our tablets and convertibles all the way to smartphones."
After the awkward posing of the question (saying that Palm "had just been not a supportive company when it comes to smartphones" - huh?), Whitman graciously described HP's experience with webOS smartphones as a "detour". At $3.3 billion, that's one hell of a detour. Of course, there are myriad reasons why it didn't have to be a detour, though we're going to continue to lay the blame for that at the feet of Whitman's predecessor as HP CEO, Leo Apotheker.
Asked for further confirmation - "So a smartphone is not if, but when, for Hewlett-Packard?" - Whitman stated that HP, in her view, will "have to ultimately offer a smartphone, because in many countries in the world that is your first computing device. You know, there will be countries around the world where people may never own a tablet or a PC or desktop. They will do everything on the smartphone. We're a computing company, we have to take advantage of that form factor."
So that poses the question, what operating system will this new HP smartphone run? While Open webOS is charging forward with its open source plan, the currently-available beta versions only run at a big tablet-size on Ubuntu Linux or as an embeddable version without a user interface. The only webOS offering currently suitable for a smartphone would be webOS 2.x, which at well over a year old is seriously showing its age. While Open webOS could in theory be developed to run on a smartphone, that's a good chunk of work. Whitman already said back in December that HP might do a webOS tablet again someday, but that smartphones were unlikely. HP burned a lot of bridges with webOS, so honestly we'd wager our money on a new HP smartphone running Windows Phone 8 from long-time big money partner Microsoft, or maybe (less likely) Android.
That sound you hear? That's Derek pulling his hair out. Video after the break.
Source: Fox Business; Thanks for all the tips!