Since Hewlett-Packard’s baffling announcement that it was scuttling its ill-fated webOS acquisition barely a year after its dark horse takeover of Palm, the PC powerhouse has existed in a mobile limbo of sorts, wanting a presence in the mobile market but having no mobile development plan to speak of. In fact, even as the HP leadership team was mulling over the future of webOS back in March, newly selected CEO Meg Whitman admitted that her company needs a mobile operating system to stay relevant across today’s varied technological landscape, the answer for HP, it turned out, just wasn’t webOS.
Following a significant internal overhaul, one that saw a realignment of various divisions within HP, the company once again looks poised to enter the mobile space, according to a leaked company memo. While the company has failed in the past to gain any traction in the ultra-competitive mobile market, HP hopes this reorganization will breathe new life into its mobile efforts.
Given the fact that HP has yet to acknowledge its renewed mobile efforts–save the fact the division will focus on tablets– we know little about what the company plans going forward, particularly in regards to what operating system it will look to employ. That said, given the fact HP is treating its new mobile enterprise as simply a spin-off of its recently renovated PC division, it’s still a good sign HP still has no idea what its doing.
First leaked by tech site The Verge, the HP memo in question was penned by Todd Bradley, the head of the company’s recently merged Printing and Personal Systems Group. According to the memo the company is set to create a new Mobility business unit that will be responsible of “consumer tablets” and “additional segments and categories where we believe we can offer differentiated value to our customers.”
As mentioned, it remains unclear what HP’s specific plans are for the tablet space, with the company giving no indication it will be planning on reviving the always partially defunct webOS or if it might choose another OS suitor like Android or Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform.
Although the company has anything but a sterling track record in the mobile space, much of the previous webOS debacle can be placed at the feet of former CEO Leo Apotheker, who scrapped the TouchPad tablet and the entire webOS enterprise only months after it got off the ground, apparently contravening a detailed long term roll-out plan the company had for its highly touted mobile acquisition.
But even with a fresh start under new leadership, HP’s second kick at the mobile can might already have some hurdles to overcome, particularly given the fact its mobile project is subsumed under its PC division. If there’s one key to success to today’s tablet market its that tablet makers cannot think like traditional PC group, meaning if the new unit is not allowed the freedom to be creative, this whole project might be doomed from the start.