HP's ill-fated Veer WebOS smartphone

HP’s ill-fated Veer WebOS smartphone

HP, the world’s largest PC manufacturer, has confirmed to The Indian Express (via TNW) that it is working on a new smartphone after its ill-fated venture into WebOS devices, promising it will offer something new and different.

When asked if a smartphone is in the offing, HP Senior Director Consumer PC and Media Tablets Asia Pacific Yam Su Yin said: “The answer is yes but I cannot give a timetable. It would be silly if we say no. HP has to be in the game.” [...]

“Being late you have to create a different set of proposition. There are still things that can be done. Its not late. When HP has a smartphone, it will give a differentiated experience.” … 

HP bought WebOS from Palm in 2010 for $1.2b but later abandoned the platform and sold it to LG for use in TVs. Its Veer smartphone was launched in May 2011 and discontinued just three months later.

Given HP’s unhappy experience with a non-standard platform, it seems likely that the new phone will run Android. Early in the process of abandoning WebOS, HP hinted that it could switch to Android, and of course later released a near-stock Android Slate tablet.

The questions, then, become ‘How new and different can an Android phone be?’ and ‘Is there room for yet another front-end for Android to compete with HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz?’

HP’s strength in the enterprise sector suggest that one possible route could be to focus on a business-orientated front-end, a market previously dominated by Blackberry, whose US market share is now less than 5 percent.

One thing’s for sure: given its history, HP can’t afford to get it wrong a second time.