HP's relationship is a long and complicated one, dating back about a decade. Originally HP combined their popular iPaq line of PDAs with GSM and CDMA brought about the first HP Windows Mobile devices. While good devices, they didn't stand a chance against RIM's BlackBerry, Palm's extensive line of handsets and even UTStarcom/HTC's PPC series of Windows Mobile devices. Though they kept it up from 2004 until 2009, there was never any real success to warrant it.
In 2010, HP purchased Palm, starting a second generation of HP-branded smartphones, this time running the ill-fated webOS. The disastrous exploits of the HP Palm merger are well documented in this article, so we won't go into it now. Suffice it to say, it didn't go well, and it looked like HP was done with phones for good.
This week, HP CEO Meg Whitman told Fox Business that they will once again have a smartphone because they "have to." For more on her announcement and some possible details about the phone, hit the break.
So, why does Whitman believe they have to try again?
My view is we have to ultimately offer a smartphone because in many countries of the world, that is your first computing device. There will be countries around the world where people may never own a tablet or a PC or a desktop, they will do everything on a smartphone, we are a computing company we have to take advantage of that form-factor.
In the end, I would love to be able to provide all the way from the most fabulous workstations to desktops, to laptops, to our tablets and convertibles, all the way to the smartphone. But we did take a detour into smartphones, and we've got to get it right this time... So we're working to make sure that, when we do this, it will be the right thing for HP and we will be successful.
All of this is pretty contrary to her statement when she initially said that there may be another webOS tablet in the company's future. She had said that there was little chance of another HP-branded smartphone in the company's future. Realizing that smartphones are a computing device, however, is a positive move for the company. It may be more than a passing realization, however, with some information about what the machine might be.
Results of a GLBenchmark test were posted this week, showing an HP-branded Android 4.0 ICS handset with some pretty impressive specs. The first interesting piece of info is the name - code name Bender. To me that means the device will have an attitude, and with hardware like this, there is no doubt about it. At the heart is a 1.5GHz quad-core S4 Snapdragon processor. That certainly outdoes any of the last generation webOS devices and in a big way.
The screen is also pretty impressive, sporting 1366 x 720 pixel resolution. If this truly is the next HP-branded smartphone, they will be entering the market with a bang, something they did not manage to do the last time around; or the first time, for that matter. Save for the Android aspect, this sounds like a device I could get excited about for sure (Disclosure: I currently own both Palm and HP smartphones).
What do you think? Would you own an HP-branded Android phone, especially with specs like those? Let us know in the comments.