HP could have become as big as Apple. Their webOS operating system, which had been purchased from Palm, was one of the most technologically advanced and user friendly platforms out there. It was so good that even Bono from U2 invested in it. But things didn’t go well for webOS and HP eventually decided to pull the plug on the operating system and stop making mobile phones.
That all changed this week when HP announced two new smartphones. Sadly for webOS fans both devices will run on Android. HP confirmed yesterday that they are creating two new devices, the Slate6 VoiceTab and the Slate7 VoiceTab. These are large phones – the numbers in the name corresponds with the diameter of the phones in inches. The larger of the two phones, at seven inches, is really stretching what could seriously be considered to be a phone. Despite the large sizes of both devices HP insist that they are “slim enough to fit nicely in the pocket.”
Details specifications on the phones aren’t available yet, however we’re hearing that they will contain 1 GHz Marvell quad-core processors, and will also come with dual-SIMs allowing you to quickly switch networks – for instance if you cross a border. The render of the phones also shows they have front facing speakers, indicating that HP have included good audio components. The screens are rumoured to be 720p HD, which isn’t quite as high as we’d like to see on devices this large. Other rumours include 16 GB of storage, expandable by MicroSD card, and two cameras – the main rear camera being five megapixels, and the forward facing camera rated at 2 megapixels.
Sadly the devices will only be 3G rather than 4G LTE. The specifications that have been released indicate that this is a mid-range device which will be aimed at mid and lower income countries more than Britain, although you will probably still be able to get your hands on one if you’re looking for a really big handset. Sources point to India being the main target market for these large phones, which may prove popular as an option for combining tablet and phone purchases into one device.
The announcement of the new phones isn’t too much of a surprise. Only a few months ago HP CEO Meg Whitman confirmed that the PC giant was going to re-enter the market at a future date, and most rumours pointed to the company building low cost phones for emerging markets.
Starting in India makes a lot of sense for HP as it is the leading PC manufacturer in that country, and therefore has good brand recognition. It also believes that it is filling a consumer desire that’s not being served to provide a consolidated device.
Perhaps the most distinctive thing about these handsets is their appearance. With gold edges and a patterned black and grey back they appear to have been specifically designed to fit in with Indian style preferences. Let’s hope that the final device offers more than good style by offering good performance too.