updated 02:07 pm EDT, Thu October 4, 2012
HP will need to release one within five years
Despite her prior statements that the company would need to produce a smartphone in the near future, HP CEO Meg Whitman says that the company will not be releasing one in 2013. Speaking at HP's financial analyst day yesterday, backpedalled on her earlier remarks, saying that HP has no plans to introduce a smartphone in 2013 but the company is looking for a way to differentiate any potential smartphone from the competition. Whitman said that HP must introduce a smartphone within the next five years or face being locked out of a "huge segment of the population in many countries of the world."
Whitman believes that many people, particularly in the developing world, will likely rely primarily on smartphones as their computing devices. HP's lack of an offering in that segment, then, puts the company at a distinct disadvantage when competing in those countries.
Last month, rumors of a forthcoming HP smartphone spread across the Internet after Whitman acknowledged that the company would have to enter the sector at some point if it wanted to compete in the future. Those rumors gained steam when a purported HP phone codenamed Bender showed up in the device rolls for GLBenchmark.
Whitman's smartphone comments came as part of a larger talk with analysts and investors, one in which she stressed that the coming year would be more difficult for the computer maker as it continues to refocus its efforts. Shares in the company tumbled to their lowest close in nine years following Whitman's talk.