HP Loves All Its Products, Not Just Smartphones

There’s still talk, believe it or not, around the question of whether or not HP is interested in making smartphones. Some of it is concern from smartphone aficionados that smartphones won’t take their proper and necessary place at the center of HP’s mobile strategy. Some—or most—of it is from the same doom-and-gloomers who seem Hell-bent on attacking Palm for its failure to dominate the industry.

However, I don’t think that HP is considering giving smartphones short thrift at all. The bottom line, as I see it, is that we’re no longer dealing with a one-dimensional company in Palm. We’re dealing with a multi-dimensional company in HP. In fact, HP has more product lines than any of the other smartphone players: HP deals in PCs, printers, document management hardware and software, networking hardware, telecom hardware, servers, IT services, cloud services, and now smartphones and mobile OSs. And I’m sure I’m leaving out some things. Nobody–and I do mean nobody–does as much in technology as HP.

And so, I think that to expect them to single out smartphones as the single most important part of that infrastructure is unrealistic and even limiting. The inherent value in having HP own Palm is its ability to integrate webOS into such a larger and more compelling universe of interconnected devices.

Furthermore, HP could give a tiny fraction of its attention and resources to the Palm business unit (or however it’ll be structured), and that’ll be far more resources than Palm has ever had access to. Simply put, Palm will receive greater financial and distribution support than ever before, and it will still be a fraction of what HP can–and I wager will–spend to make webOS successful across a whole host of devices.

I think it’s wrong to think that unless HP makes smartphones "more important" than other potential devices–including, yes, printers, but more so tablets and small form-factor PCs (e.g., netbooks)–then somehow HP is failing in the market. I’d say, what it really does is make HP–and webOS with it–much more successful in the greater mobile market. Rather than implying that this will mean lesser smartphones, I think it will mean devices that are just as outstanding–the same Palm team will be in the lead, after all–and also part of a tremendous ecosystem that nobody else can match.

In short (hah!), there’s every reason to believe that not only will we have industry-leading smartphones, but we’ll also have industry-leading Web-connected printers/scanners, tablets, and netbooks to go along with them. Why should HP downplay any of these other devices to favor smartphones when they’re all important?

HP isn’t dragging smartphones down. They’re simply elevating everything else they have to offer. And the great thing is, it all revolves around our favorite mobile OS, webOS.


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