back to article HP confirms it's back in the smartphone business

A senior HP executive has confirmed that the company will make yet another foray into the smartphone sector, three years after wasting $1.3bn buying webOS and then shutting it down shortly afterwards. "The answer is yes but I cannot give a timetable," Yam Su Yin, HP senior director of consumer PC and media tablets for Asia …

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  1. cd

    Make it a ball-shaped dingus

    That way, when they drop it, the metaphor will be doubly appropriate.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hope so

    I know it's kind of unfashionable, but I have a soft spot for HP. Well, it's heritage at least. I've always thought it had to reverse this opt out of the phone market. It would never get back to its innovative roots if it didn't. And I'd like to see it figure out how to do good things again.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: Hope so

      I think you're letting nostalgia keep you from seeing what HP has become. We all loved what they where, but they aren't that anymore. I'm not sure they have it in them. most of the innovation has been killed or spun off.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hope so

      "Windows Phone 8 might offer some tie-ins with HP's desktop portfolio, but if you're looking to make a splash in the smartphone arena it's better to use an OS people actually want to buy."

      Android market is saturated though. Windows phone is growing market share rapidly and already left Blackberry in the dust. If HP can produce a decent device then there is likely a bigger future in Windows phone....

      1. David Hicks

        Re: Hope so

        >> Windows phone is growing market share rapidly

        There seems to be some debate about that. Some stats-gatherers seem to think it's actually shrinking in some markets (notably the US, Germany and Australia), and that no, it's not bigger than blackberry in all markets (US again).

        People mostly don't want Windows phone. MS is just not cool.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Hope so

          "There seems to be some debate about that. "

          There really isn't.. Windows Phone grew market share by over 100% in the last year, and Nokia are continuing to expand the product ranges and move into more markets that is underpinning the growth of WP.

          "Some stats-gatherers seem to think it's actually shrinking in some markets (notably the US, Germany and Australia), and that no, it's not bigger than blackberry in all markets (US again)."

          Some people seem to be confusing installed base (which has a large number of slowly dying legacy Windows Mobile devices) with sales.

          Windows Phone has grown year on year in every major market. Windows phone is outselling Blackberry globally - as of April by 8 times! in the US and by about 100% in the UK....

          1. David Hicks
            FAIL

            Re: Hope so

            The latest Gartner figures I can find are from 1Q13 and show ~50% year on year growth.

            Which might be really impressive if the market share (yes, of sales) wasn't still under 3% of the market and still under Blackberry. (reference http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2482816)

            This is still a TINY proportion of sales, let alone install base. And compared to the historic market share that older Win based smartphones had, in business and with the public, this is a MASSIVE decline.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Predictable

    I pity the workers.

    HP used to be a great engineering company. 20 years ago, people would have chosen to go there and to try and forge a career. What now - it must be with embarrassment they tell people who they work for.

    1. Brian Morrison
      Facepalm

      Re: Predictable

      Unless they work for Agilent, who still have most of the market that HP once had and still make some of the very best test equipment available.

      Mind you, as someone that used to work for Marconi Instruments said to me once, it's a shame that they chose a name which is an anagram of genital.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Predictable

      "What now - it must be with embarrassment they tell people who they work for."

      ...or no longer work for after years of service.

  4. Robert Grant

    "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

    This stuff is getting a bit old; even the design fuddy-duddies are getting used to slick UIs with nice typography and negative space. Last year everyone was mocking Metro's flatness; now it's all over (and much worse in) the iOS 7 beta. Journos really don't seem to have much of an opinion of their own sometimes.

    Lots of people like Windows Phone. There are reasons to not buy it, but most people don't know them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

      For every one person that wants a Windows Phone, there are twenty that don't. I would hardly call that "lot's of people like Windows Phone."

      1. nastybarsteward
        WTF?

        Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

        Interesting to know how many of the "informed" comments, by Anonymous Cowards and others, are made after actually using a Windows Phone device properly. I get the feeling that many are just regurgitating other viewpoints, or looking at reviews, before "advising" others in an attempt to present an image of "look how great I am".

        Yes, from a technical viewpoint there is much that can be done on Android that isn't as easy on other operating systems. However from a slickness and usability viewpoint, I find my family members and friends love the OS compared to IOS and Android. I own 2 x Android devices, 1 x iPhone, 1 x Windows Phone 7.5, and 1 x Windows Phone 8, so at least I have tried each of those for myself.

        Each to their own of course, however unless you have actually used a Windows Phone 8, any comment made is pretty worthless.

        (And yes, I fully expect this post to be down-voted by the Android and Apple fanatics/trolls. For info, my main phone is Android, so I am not anti-Android in any way. I just believe that for many less technical people, the Windows Phone offers a lot, and has it's place.)

        1. theOtherJT

          Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

          I've never met anyone who actually _owns_ a windows phone that doesn't like it. I still fully intend to buy one to replace my current android set when it finally dies on me - not that I don't like my android phone, or any of the others out there that I could buy instead, but having used WinPho, I like it better.

          Is it perfect? No. Nothing is, but I have no idea why people don't buy them. Some of them are even amazingly cheap. I guess the microsoft brand is just so tarnished people won't go near it even when they have a compelling product to offer.

          1. David Hicks

            Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

            >> I've never met anyone who actually _owns_ a windows phone that doesn't like it.

            The only person I've ever met who owns (owned?) a windows phone hated it. Granted this was back in the 7 days when there were no custom ringtones allowed, amongst hundreds of other usability issues.

            I've rarely seen one since.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @theOtherJT

            > I've never met anyone who actually _owns_ a windows phone

            FTFY

      2. Mr Spock

        Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

        Better than that. For every one Nokia owner that wants a Windows Phone, there are twenty that don't.

      3. Mark .

        Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

        True, but if you put it like this, a lot of "popular" things become unpopular. For everyone one person wanting an iphone, there are 6 who don't - and that number was a lot higher in the past. When the iphone sold a million in 76 days, that was actually 7 billion people who didn't want one.

        But instead the iphone gets nothing but hype from the media (including in this article, ranking Apple alongside Samsung - actually it's Nokia who are 2nd place; they make a lot more phones than just WP ones).

        Who cares anyway? I like Linux, but people here don't go around saying "For every one person who wants Linux, 99 people don't", and then urge every manufacturer to only offer Windows.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

        "For every one person that wants a Windows Phone, there are twenty that don't. I would hardly call that "lot's of people like Windows Phone.""

        As of Kantar figures in April 2013, WP already had a 8.4% share of the UK market....From basically nowhere a couple of years ago, that's a lot of people now liking Windows phone....

        1. David Hicks
          Thumb Down

          Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

          >> From basically nowhere a couple of years ago

          And from a dominant position in business and a huge share of the smartphone market over the preceding decade.

          MS done screwed up.

    2. asdf Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

      >"better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

      Wait this is the company that sells HP-UX right? Hahaha fail.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite Clearly Android.

    1/ They already have an Android tablet out.

    2/ Windows Phone is dead, FirefoxOS is stillborn, iOS and Blackberry are closed.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Quite Clearly Android.

      Don't forget the other stillborn OS Ubuntu touch.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: Quite Clearly Android.

      But..unfortunately they talk about a "differentiated" experience. Given that the device will be assembled from the OEM parts bin with at most a token bit of customisation, this could only mean they intend to "add value" with some HP specific overlay on the Android software.

      Most operator and phone maker customisation of Android isn't well received; HP have a poor record in software, so you have to wonder what they will bring that differentiaties it, and how well that will be received. At a guess, lots of HP branding, pointless changes to make it look less like Android, creating an overhead that makes updates slow (and expensive for HP), ultimately leading to orphan devices. But those are issues for personal buyers. In the business sector, most users have no say and no choice, and the main smartphone makers have offered some very poorly focused handsets at business, either too cr@p, or too expensive, and invariably carrying features (like cameras) that aren't needed for most business users.

      Targeted at corporates, HP can try and push it through the enterprise services channel, and further marginalise the telecoms operators, maybe it will be a success if they make sure that the TCO is in favour of HP branded phones, by raising the support costs for non-HP devices? I wouldn't buy one, because I don't like or trust the company that HP now is. But as a business user, I could well be told that HP are the new corporate standard.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quite Clearly Android.

        @ledswinger

        Didn't Dell try that and fail?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quite Clearly Android.

      "Windows Phone is dead"

      Windows Phone is actually the fastest growing mobile OS.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Quite Clearly Android.

        Yep when you go from 0 to even a small number your growth looks amazing. What few percent of market share WP has earned has mostly came from the brand of the phone (Nokia, HTC) or the hardware and not because its a windows phone.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Quite Clearly Android.

          "What few percent of market share WP has earned has mostly came from the brand of the phone (Nokia, HTC) or the hardware and not because its a windows phone."

          You could say the same for Android / Samsung. What matters is the Windows Phone is still growing market share quite quickly and will likely hit double digits in a number of major markets this year.

          The launch this month of the EOS 41 Megapixel Lumia and the Windows Phone App Store becoming more mature with fewer 'missing' popular apps will likely keep that momentum going.

          And of course the apparent failure of Blackberry.

  6. Herby Silver badge

    Big question: Windows or Android??

    We can only hope a reasonable choice (cough Android cough) is made!

    Maybe they will go iOS, I have doubts, but given how things work one never knows!

  7. Bob Vistakin
    Linux

    Tee hee, snigger snigger, chortle chortle

    "Windows Phone 8 might offer some tie-ins with HP's desktop portfolio, but if you're looking to make a splash in the smartphone arena it's better to use an OS people actually want to buy."

    1. Chairo
      Devil

      Re: Tee hee, snigger snigger, chortle chortle

      Windows Phone 8 might offer some tie-ins with HP's desktop portfolio, but if you're looking to make a splash in the smartphone arena it's better to use an OS people actually want to buy."

      That sentence must really annoy A.O. ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tee hee, snigger snigger, chortle chortle

        He's not bothered. He's getting paid.

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Tee hee, snigger snigger, chortle chortle

      "Windows Phone 8 might offer some tie-ins with HP's desktop portfolio,"

      The Windows 8 computers that no one is buying. Now they can not buy them together and save twice a much!

      1. Mark .

        Re: Tee hee, snigger snigger, chortle chortle

        I love how one million is a runaway success when it's Apple, but 100 million is "no one is buying" when it's MS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tee hee, snigger snigger, chortle chortle

          Are you attempting to imply that WindowsPhone OS handsets have sold over 100 million since it was rebranded as such?

          That number seems unfeasibly large.

  8. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    return of the ipaq?

    Looks like the "Glisten" was their last phone, with Windows mobile 6.5

    http://www.gsmarena.com/hp_ipaq_glisten-3036.php

    Obviously HP really has no chance in the mobile space(maybe they can maintain a 10th of 1% of market share or something) unless they're going to invest many billions in product. Anyone heard much of HP's recent foray into Android tablets(short of the initial announcement many months ago)? Yeah, didn't think so.

    I was one hoping/expecting they were going to invest said billions into WebOS. But short timer syndrome kicked in yet again...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: return of the ipaq?

      Pay attention bond.

      HP slate 7 is out now and running android jellybean.

      The HP phone will definitely run Android. Anything else would be suicidal. Windows phone marketshare is in freefall

      1. dogged
        Stop

        Re: return of the ipaq?

        I agree that Android is the most likely choice.

        However -

        The HP phone will definitely run Android. Anything else would be suicidal. Windows phone marketshare is in freefall

        No it isn't, Barry. You want it to be but it's growing like a fungus on the corpse of Blackberry. The latest Kantar results show a continual market share rise at Blackberry's expense.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Re: return of the ipaq?

          No dogged, the wp8 market can be described like this: consumers buying wp7.5 Nokias, brand to which they are used to use and trust, because of the price and not the OS, and (and here it's the BB bit) the poor souls of the sales department who have to swallow whatever the Vodafones of this world decides because of the contract signed by the companies. Which means, consumers buying the crap and dead-end WP7.5 and the expensive models included in contracts, not people rushing to buy the high-end gear, which are a minority.

          1. dogged
            Meh

            @JahBless

            Presumably you have unimpeachable sources for this declaration?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Stop

              Re: @JahBless

              I do, the company where i work it's a good example. And confirmed the trend with other friends working for different companies. Real life examples you know.

        2. 20legend

          Re: return of the ipaq?

          And Blackberry's market share is how much, maybe 5% worldwide - so not really making big inroads into Android and iOS, which considering that WP is going on 3yrs old is frankly p*ss poor compared to the achievements of the aforementioned OS's in a similar time scale.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: return of the ipaq?

          Windows Phone marketshare now down to 3% (May 2013)

          http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/story/comscore-androids-us-subscriber-growth-rebounds-ios-plateaus/2013-07-01

          "Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone also declined in May, sliding from 3.2 percent U.S. market share in February to 3 percent."

          1. Mark .

            Re: return of the ipaq?

            I wasn't aware that the US was the entire world.

            (And the US market has always been very different from the rest of the world; one where Nokia has always had little presence, and Apple has done its best, with Android not dominating as much compared with the rest of the world - interesting to see then Android having a rebound in the US.)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: return of the ipaq?

              So Microsoft can cherrypick their best regions? As American is the only market that gets Xbox360 numbers reported and shouted about by Microsoft. When it comes to Windows Phone, they are "unique and don't matter"..

              Funny that...

              The reality is, Windows Phone is dead whatever country you are in. When was the last time you saw anyone with one....

              1. Philip Lewis
                Paris Hilton

                Re: return of the ipaq?

                Yesterday in the bus! The first one I have seen "in the wild" here in Copenhagen. I had to look twice to make sure it wasn't an N9 though.

                In my train compartment tonight, exactly 7 of the 8 people who I could see reading their phones were using iPhone 4s & 5s (hard to tell exactly at a distance). I saw no other brands.

                The last 2 years have seen the iPhone pretty much dominate the market here, and despite wall to wall carpet bombing advertising for Lumias, they are pretty rare.

                I conclude via my random observations in public transport every day, that in wealthy societies such as this one, where even the unemployed can afford a new iPhone, people like the iPhone more than other phones.

                I choose Paris

              2. TheVogon Silver badge
                Mushroom

                Re: return of the ipaq?

                "As American is the only market that gets Xbox360 numbers reported and shouted about by Microsoft"

                Microsoft announced this week that the Xbox 360 overtook the Wii for total console sales in the UK....leaving the PS3 firmly in third place.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: return of the ipaq?

            "Windows Phone marketshare now down to 3% (May 2013)"

            That's installed base, not market share, and US only - not a very significant mobile market globally. As per Kantar April, US market share of sales for Windows Phone was 5.6%

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: return of the ipaq?

          Kantar, schmantar. The latest Comscore results don't.

      2. ecofeco Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: return of the ipaq?

        The iPaq phone was way ahead of it's time. Features we take for granted today were available on it 8 years ago and there are things from it we STILL don't have, like a user facing camera built right INTO the screen, fully integrated and invisible. Or virtual games using the outside camera to project game props or even historical narratives as an overlay of the live image.

        It took me years to understand why it failed.

    2. Johan Bastiaansen
      Angel

      Re: return of the ipaq?

      Glad you brought the Ipaq up. I had one with a gps sleeve and a tomtom mouse. It was slightly bigger than my phone now, but did roughly the same. Lets not forget that WebOS was the second time self declared smart people pissed away a good opportunity.

  9. Captain DaFt

    What I heard (read)

    "Now that we've killed Webos deader than a doornail, MS is pressuring us to release a Winphone."

  10. CyberAngel

    Full Linux-PC-Phone-Phablet

    I just wonder about the keyboard solutions HP should bring out at least five different:

    from full sized to pocketable

    BUT

    these just my wild guesses...

  11. localzuk

    They need to focus on their core business - which is business.

    If they want to be a one stop shop for IT for corporations and SMEs, they should focus their smartphone business on that market. Make the ultimate business friendly phone. The reason the iPaq range of PDAs was so successful was its amazing flexibility and integration with the systems that businesses run with little effort.

    If I were them, I'd look at customising android or something like that - make it secure, make it customisable for business clients, make it more manageable, make it robust and stylish (we all know that bosses like shiny).

    Most phones on the market at the moment, with the exception of Blackberry, have focused on the consumer market and then tagged extras on for corporations. Do it the other way round.

    1. nichomach
      Thumb Up

      I agree with the notion that they should be focussing on the business market, but I would say that WP8 would be a better fit for that. I have WP8 handsets in use and they are easy to set up, reliable, easy to use, and seem to generate fewer support issues than the various androids that we have in service.

      1. dogged

        What's this? WP8 generates low support costs?

        HP will definitely go Android then.

        1. Mr Spock
          Happy

          Low support costs.

          Because nobody's got one. Nothing to support!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Low support costs.

            Windows Phone likely is the lowest support cost option. It can be managed directly by SCCM that most corporations already have. And of course it is the most secure current generation handset with zero vulnerabilities. (Blackberry 10 was already completely rootable via a Flash vulnerability). Android is Linux based so is like Swiss Cheese. And IOS has had over 400 vulnerabilities to date...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Low support costs.

              So can I conclude that "iOS is Unix so is like Swiss Chess"?

              Where is this list of the vulnerabilities of which you write?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Low support costs.

                "Where is this list of the vulnerabilities of which you write?"

                www.secunia.org

            2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

              Re: "And of course it is the most secure current generation handset with zero vulnerabilities"

              Let me correct that for you :

              And of course it is the most secure current generation handset with zero discovered vulnerabilities.

              There, now it's fixed.

  12. Waspy
    FAIL

    How long will you stick to this plan HP?

    I have, charging wirelessly on my desk, a HP mobile phone. It's called the Pre 3. HP spent 1.3 billion dollars buying the software inside it and an untold sum developing that software and the hardware to put it in. The software is incredible, light years ahead of the competition in some areas - true, intutive multitasking, unified online services (ie it will pull in all infor from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Hotmail etc and present it together), instant searching/app launching, unified inbox etc etc. Even the hardware, whilst not Apple or Nokia's level of quality had something special - the aformentioned wireless charging, which STILL has only really appeared on Nokia phones recently, even though Palm released it in 2009.

    HP threw all this away on a whim because they didn't have the balls to try and win some marketshare. They had a unique product and frittered billions on doing nothing with it, and now they want to get into the game by producing the same crap as everyone else. Good luck HP, you don't deserve anything at all!

  13. vmistery

    I am still rocking my iPaq messenger 6915 as a backup phone / pda. Well built but let down by lack of 'g' wireless and being stuck on Windows Mobile 5. I did love the Mr T voice I had for it on the TomTom app

  14. Thomas 4
    Black Helicopters

    Run, Firefox OS, run!

    If you value your existence, shoot the HP rep in the kneecaps the instant he sets foot on Mozilla HQ.

    1. Jonathan 29
      Stop

      Re: Run, Firefox OS, run!

      I tend to agree. They would get a lot of coverage by releasing the first Ubuntu phone, but might also accidentally drop the whole platform down their virtual toilet.

  15. kain preacher Silver badge

    The new phone is going be called the phone bone. since they like screwing people over.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  16. Shasta McNasty

    Not this again

    "When HP has a smartphone, it will give a differentiated experience"

    HP Execs could do with some training in Arse-Elbow Differentiation.

  17. The Boojum

    I think that the mass, consumer market can be described by an old business aphorism:

    1% of companies want to be first to market with a revolutionary new product - that's Apple.

    99% of companies want to be second with the new product - Google won that one.

    The rest are just fighting for the scraps.

  18. Grumply Old Man
    Meh

    Palm OS is dead. So What!

    OK, so the old OS is gone. So What? What made the Palm so good was not the OS. It was that the originators kept in mind what the product should do. The operation should be Intuitive. Human Factors was their key. The functionality, the ease of operation, the methodology, the integration of functions. What? Intergration? Of course! The operation of most extant devices are a hodgepoge of functions pushed together as if a bunch of garbage. If they get the utility right, thinking of the user, the OS is beside the point.

  19. J J Carter Silver badge
    Coat

    Some sort of mobi/oscilliscope hybrid would let HP build on its legacy and give it a USP in the market?

  20. Alan Denman

    incentives, No way

    Debt laden companies do not need incentives.

    They primarily do as they are told.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Place your bets...

    Knowing HP it will be released with out of date hardware and while I think they'll go Android they will probably ship it a week before a new version (5?) is announced and the silence from HP regarding updates for it will be deafening.

    HP made the right acquisition with Palm, but the hardware they released and designs were dogs dinners apart from the touchpad. Average hardware at top end prices was never going to win, but if they'd got the hardware and pricing right they could've been sitting here now having ate Blackberry and Windows Mobile/Phones dinner. Sadly though they think they just need to go through the motions and release any old tripe and people will be stupid enough to buy it instead of truly offering compelling hardware/software

  22. The Godfather
    Coat

    Sigh.....

    Something quite wrong when big businesses like this, run by people like that, can make big mistakes and still go down dead ends and blind alley's.

  23. Fihart

    Stupid or scared ?

    "Being late you have to create a different set of propositions. There are still things that can be done. It's not late. When HP has a smartphone, it will give a differentiated experience," he claimed.

    Well, is it late or not late ?

    With self-contradictory statements like the above, HP aren't going to be making very good decisions any time soon.

    "A differentiated experience" suggests that IT business drones mangle the language because they cannot marshal their thoughts before opening their mouths. Or are they simply too scared to state anything directly in case it's used against them later.

  24. Ron Christian

    It'll be windows phone

    I can't imagine HP not going with Windows Phone 8. Their biggest partner is Microsoft, which isn't above using its stranglehold to "guide" hardware manufacturers in the right direction. It'll be Win8. And it will fail, of course. But HP will be "in the game", after a fashion.

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