Why HP has to turn to Android for mobile plans

Touchpad

Analyst argues HP needs to work fast to move into mobile market

HP has no choice but to launch an Android tablet if it's to stand a chance of catching up with rivals in the booming mobile sector, an analyst has said.

Widespread reports suggest HP is to announce a tablet based on Android and Nvidia's Tegra 4 processor, with the possibility of Android phones to follow.

According to one analyst, HP should embrace the Android platform for upcoming mobile devices to get back in the mobile game quickly, following the company's problems with Palm, the defunct WebOS TouchPad and internal upheaval.

"Speed is of the essence and the lowest barrier to entry is Android," said Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight.

"The attraction of Android is it allows you very rapid time to market – HP has turned up late to the party having been through the Palm acquisition, tried to make WebOS fly and abandoned it and now it's realised that having mobile devices is essential to its future."

What can we do quickly? We can go and source some products from manufacturers in the Far East and quickly get something in the market

With rival manufacturers pushing ahead in trying catch up with the lead of Apple's iPad in the tablet arena, HP risked becoming irrelevant if it did not move quickly.

"Whether you're Microsoft, Intel or HP - the traditional players from the PC space - you've got to reinvent your business," said Wood.

"HP has to get something to market quickly and I'd assume the company has had a review and said: 'What can we do quickly? We can go and source some products from manufacturers in the Far East and quickly get something in the market to keep the HP brand in the game'."

Windows plans

HP already has Windows 8 tablets on shelves, but these target enterprise customers rather consumers.

"The economics of Windows 8 tablets are still very challenging and there's a big cost associated with the licence fee you need to pay to Microsoft and that doesn't apply with Android," Wood added. "Having something on Windows that you can price effectively against the iPad is quite a challenge, as the other Windows tablet manufacturers have found to date."

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