Hewlett Packard is apparently set to rejoin the smartphone market it left in 2011 with the launch of two low-cost ‘phablet’ devices.
Even more remarkably, those two devices could well be launched by the end of 2013.
According to The Information’s sources, HP has built affordable 6-inch and 7-inch smartphones, which it will launch in developing markets such as India, China, and The Phillipines, before 2013 draws to a close.
These devices will retail for between $200 and $250 – or between £122 and £153, in UK money.
This year has already seen HP hitting the market with a 7-inch Android tablet, the HP Slate 7. It also recently (and quietly) launched the HP Omni 10, a Windows 8.1-based 10-inch tablet.
Meanwhile, over the past year or so, HP CEO Meg Whitman has been making noises concerning the company’s intention to re-enter the smartphone market with a range of Android-based phones.
However, as recently as July Whitman claimed that such smartphone plans wouldn’t see fruition “in the short to medium term.”
HP abandoned its previous smartphone plans when webOS, the pioneering mobile operating system it inherited when it acquired Palm back in 2010, failed to take hold in an iPhone and Android-dominated market.
This despite the fact that webOS proved hugely influential in its treatment of multitasking and an emphasis on online services.
With the New Year just over a week away, HP doesn’t have long if it wants to make its low key smartphone re-entry in 2013.