After failing to enter the mobile market with WebOS, and not wanting to trust its future in the hands of Microsoft (like Dell seems to be doing), HP seems to be committed to a Post-PC era dominated by Android, as rumors are saying HP is preparing to launch both a Tegra 4 tablet and a phone with Android, although the phone might not be available this year.
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The fact that Microsoft built its own tablet and not tell them about it until 3 days before announcing it last year, made HP very angry back then, and it seems they’ve started re-evaluating how dependent they want to be on the relationship with Microsoft. If a Chromebook and an Android tablet are coming out in the next few months, then the moment they decided to build them seems to be just about then.
This is a very big win for Google, as HP is a huge company (#1 PC maker). However, HP is not exactly the pioneer in making the best mobile devices on the market right now, or even the best PC’s actually. So if they want to succeed in the mobile market they are going to have to adapt quickly to this market, and learn what the users want, so they can create compelling devices. The quality of their devices also has to rise to compete with the latest mobile devices from Apple, Sony, Samsung and others.
If Google is willing to guide them through this transition, in a similar way to how they guide their Nexus partners, HP should be able to adapt much more quickly, just like LG did. I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone that LG learned a lot from their partnership with Google for the Nexus 4. Not only that, but it has also done tremendous good for the image of other LG products. Up until now, people probably wouldn’t even consider an LG device in their top 5 choices, but now it can even be their #1 choice for some, especially when we’re talking about the Nexus 4, and even the LG Optimus G.
Now, I doubt we’ll see Google use HP for their next Nexus devices soon, so HP won’t benefit from this kind of marketing yet, but if they at least guide them through making quality Android devices, that should also be invaluable to HP.
HP will be holding private meetings at MWC this month to show off their Tegra 4 tablet, but I doubt we’ll be seeing anything official soon. If they do announce their tablet in the next few months, we can probably expect it this summer or in early fall, although if they do launch it that late, they’ll hopefully launch it with a more beefed up Tegra 4+ chip.
I’ve noticed a lot of the “old guard” companies don’t usually put a lot of focus on bringing bleeding edge technology in their devices, and that ends up being a huge mistake, as it makes reviewers, and in turn their readers unexcited about their products. So hopefully HP won’t make that mistake. When they launched their HP Touchpad, that had a pretty recent dual core Qualcomm chip, so they might not.
On the other hand, their reluctance to use a Tegra 4 for their Chromebook as well, instead of a crippled and low-battery life Intel Celeron chip, doesn’t make me that confident that they’ve shaken off their “PC thinking” much, as they try to move into the post-PC world.