It’s not even two years since HP quite the smartphone game, the disaster of its webOS venture barely a few months old when it decided enough was enough.
Yet the company is now suggesting that it could be set for a comeback, with its Asia-Pacific Director of Consumer PCs and Tablets saying that it would be “silly” not to give it another go.
In quotes from The India Express, Yam Su Sin said: “It would be silly if we say no. HP has to be in the game.
“Being late you have to create a different set of propositions. There are still things that can be done. It's not late.
“When HP has a smartphone, it will give a differentiated experience."
That last line is perhaps the most telling.
Having paid over $1 billion for Palm and its critically adored webOS, surely HP had that ‘differentiated experience’ when it last tried to take on the might of Apple and Google back in 2011.
Everyone knows how that ended up panning out. Entering the market back then was tough enough.
Android was well on its way to smartphone ascendancy, while Apple still dominated the scene with its iPhone 4.
Now, the game is even harder.
Android and iOS rule the roost, with rivals unable to get close. If the likes of BlackBerry, Nokia and Microsoft can’t make inroads, what chance does HP really stand?
Perhaps Yam means that a custom Android skin will help HP differentiate itself in the market.
If that is the case, he is surely mistaken. The rise of ‘Google Edition’ phones and the demand for a more unified Android are likely to see custom skins become an increasing irrelevance in the coming years.
webOS should have represented a great chance for HP to corner a small segment of the market.
It was well received before Android had become a truly mainstream proposition, thanks to a massive launch at CES 2009.
But Palm’s inability to get developers on board should have set alarm bells ringing.
That chronic lack of app support ensured that the HP Pre 3 and HP TouchPad were killed-off within weeks of going on sale.
HP is in a difficult place right now. PC sales are flatlining and its tablets haven’t captured the imagination.
It may feel it has to give smartphones one last go. But who realistically is going to stump up for one of their devices over a Samsung, Apple or Sony product?
HTC can’t make it work and that’s with arguably the best smartphone ever in their stable.
This, unfortunately, has disaster written all over it. HP needs to learn its lesson from 2011 and stay well away from the smartphone sector.