HP phone home

After failing in the tablet market, Hewlett-Packard is jumping into smartphones

If at first you fail...

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co., caused eyes to roll after revealing the computer-maker is “working on” a smartphone. While she’s no doubt aware of the trends—the rise of mobile; the decline of PCs—HP hasn’t had much luck in this area to date. It once made phones that ran Windows Mobile and then, two years ago, bought struggling smartphone pioneer Palm Inc. for US$1.8 billion—a bid to better compete with industry-leaders Google and Apple. It wasn’t to be. The following year HP shuttered its smartphone business, effectively killing off Palm in the process. There is, however, at least one reason to take HP’s continued mobile aspirations seriously: the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s visionary co-founder, long admired the company and its engineers, calling its recent struggles “tragic.” The question now is whether HP still possesses any of the qualities that made Jobs a fan in the first place.

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