HP needs execution, execution, execution. Still.
Instruments and most components went out the door with Agilent, which frittered the advantages away for the most part.
HP would do well to try to actually *sell* their services. Marketing and sales for a lot of services was disconnected from those services over a year ago and the pipelines have finally run dry.
As to their laptops, yeah, the Playskool concept of design definitely rules here. The keyboards are the ten-fingered version of the great, thick pencils given to youngsters. Touch typing involves waving hands more than a Ouija board, and they're depressed into the base at an angle that makes extensive typing rough on the wrists.
They still have calculators, but other than the HP-35s there's nothing to see there, and the initiative in schools has been entirely lost to TI offerings that haven't changed much for a decade. It'd be theirs if they reached out for it, though. Heck, if they simply re-issued the calc line from 1987 with new make guts in them, they'd be way up in the market. If they put in media card slots, USB, and a modern display, but kept the old keyboards and cases, they'd be back at the top. Small change, but one good product line helps sell another.
More recently, there's Palm. Try again, this time with a tad more attention to hardware. I can't believe developing something new would be cost effective compared to bringing the OS back in new devices. Price them at the low end of Apple's price spectrum, and they'll sell--just not at the high end.