Hewlett-Packard is set to re-enter the smartphone market, with the launch of two new super-sized Android devices. The new phones will go on sale in India, however, rather than Europe or – HP’s home market – the US.
The future of HP always generates considerable interest, which is not surprising considering its once-leading position in the desktop PC market around the world. With PC sales declining, HP – like so many others – must establish a fresh game plan.
Whilst it has long been expected that HP would eventually launch an Android phone, much about the company’s new direction has left many scratching their heads.
The HP Slate6 VoiceTab and HP Slate7 VoiceTab have six and seven-inch screens respectively. Whilst this follows the growing phablet trend, the specs of both phones are unremarkable. And there has been surprise that HP has chosen to focus on an emerging market, rather than Europe or the US.
Yet both Europe and the US have highly mature smartphone markets, and the specs of HP’s new devices would not attract many admirers on either continent.
In fact, were HP to market the Slate6 VoiceTab or Slate7 VoiceTab in either Europe or the US, the company would likely face severe criticism. Many would point out that HP’s devices were not a match for rival phablets from HTC and Sony, and the launch would become drowned in negative publicity.
The Indian market, by contrast, is very much a hotbed for competitively prices phones and tablets which offer midrange specs. In addition, the HP brand is well established in India.
By focusing on emerging markets, HP will have greater opportunity to experiment as it tests new product ranges.
Should a return to the European and American smartphone markets come at a later date, it won’t be on the basis of a company desperate to find salvation in new product lines. Instead, HP will be seen as an organisation that has successfully conquered emerging markets, and is ready to become a global force once again.