A new report citing sources within HP is claiming that the company is working on re-entering the now hyper-competitive tablet market with yet another tablet, this one based on Android. The report claims that the company is working towards a back room reveal during Mobile World Congress in Spain this month and is planning a future reveal to the public shortly after.
Before HP went all in with its failed webOS initiative after buying Palm, the company previously included Android powered tablets with its highest-end TouchSmart printers as companion devices to be used in tandem with the printers for wireless file and photo printing. They weren’t standalone tablets in the way we know of them now, but HP made the effort to use Android in alternative ways years before the current wave of tablets.
For HP to double back and use Android once again to launch yet another tablet would be an admission of completely misjudging the operating system at the outset and its potential compared to the complete failure of webOS after investing $1 billion into Palm, only to continually write down losses afterwards due to botched hardware launches and poor development support.
Another factor is the way the current marketplace is distorting the tablet market between the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab series, with the Nexus line serving as the only real alternative to both of the aforementioned due mainly to its lower cost compared to other major tablets. For HP to plan an Android tablet at this point is not only short-sighted, but it is almost sure to become another pool of red ink unless HP can figure out marketing strategies that would emphasize its own tablet’s advantages over the already entrenched competitors.
The complete lack of marketing for the TouchPad shows that HP did not understand what proper marketing entails and the new tablet already faces an uphill battle to become a success in the current marketplace with more PC OEMs and mobile phone manufacturers attempting their own Android tablets, with mixed levels of success and many more lines still not making money.
Dell previously attempted its own Android tablet line in the Streak series before they fell by the wayside and were ultimately abandoned due to poor support from Dell and equally botched carrier support leading to extremely poor sales compared to the superior at the time Galaxy Tab series by Samsung.
For HP’s rumored Android tablet to succeed, it will need to be developed with the understanding that it has already failed once in launching a tablet and providing a viable ecosystem for developers. They may be using Android this time around, but the cloud of failure over the TouchPad and webOS still looms large over a company still recovering from its many business mistakes, some that are still being felt today.