HP’s bid for relevance in Mobile – Will this time be different?

by Tejas Mehta | Jan. 23, 2014

HP’s announcement last week about the launch of two new Android-powered mobile devices, the Slate6 and Slate7, was not entirely unexpected as Meg Whitman, HP’s CEO, has been indicating HP’s return to the smartphone market for well over a year now.  It is an acknowledgement from HP of the shift in computing from PC to mobile, and as a computing company, HP simply cannot ignore mobile for much longer.

Two things about the announcement are interesting-HP’s choice of country of initial launch and the device platform.  HP has chosen to focus on India and to use ‘Phablets’ as the device platform for its re-entry to mobile computing.  India is experiencing huge growth in moderately-priced consumer and enterprise tablets.  For HP, this represents an opportunity to test its strategy in a growth market where the market shares are not entrenched. 

The key to HP’s success will be its pricing strategy.  India remains a deeply price-sensitive market and there are a number of domestic and foreign device manufacturers that are vying for market share including Dell, which also announced the launch of its ‘Venue’ tablets there this week.  HP will have to price the Slate series competitively to gain market share.  It will also be much harder for HP to make inroads into mature markets like North America and Western Europe.  How HP’s strategy plays out will be interesting to watch.  This is perhaps HP’s last throw of dice after its disastrous acquisition of Palm, in 2010, and its subsequent exit from the smartphone market. 

Parks Associates Report, Tablets: Disrupting Mobile Computing and the Digital Home (3Q13), provides a detailed view of the tablet market and ecosystem using the latest market data, consumer analytics, and briefings with key industry players.  

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