HP returns to smartphone market

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Hewlett-Packard is turning its attention to the “phablet” market, after its purchase of Palm left the company empty-handed in the smartphone space. The company is calling its offerings “VoiceTabs,” a name that might catch on even if the products themselves do not.

The six-inch and seven-inch Android 4.2-powered devices connect to 3G cellular networks, have 16 gigabytes of embedded of storage, front and rear high-definition cameras and dual SIM slots. The dual SIM slots are important as HP is launching the devices first in India, a market where families often share a smartphone and use individual SIM cards.

The products are called the Slate6 and the Slate7, extending the branding HP has used for its tablets. The company describes Slate6 and Slate7 as “more than a tablet, smarter than a phone,” but the devices are clearly aimed at smartphone buyers. Most mobile users in India have access to just one device, and communication is a primary function as many people do not have landlines.

For consumers who can afford just one mobile device, the larger form factor can offer the functionality of a tablet with the portability and communication ability of a phone. In markets where home computers are uncommon, a large form factor smartphone could in theory perform the functions of a PC, tablet and phone.

“This is an exciting new category that represents a meaningful growth opportunity for HP,” said Ron Coughlin, SVP of HP’s Consumer Personal Systems Group. “Our HP Slate VoiceTab provides consumers with a high-quality product at a great value.”

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About Author

Martha DeGrasse

Editor, Wireless Infrastructure
[email protected]
Martha DeGrasse is an editor at RCR Wireless News, and is the creator of the RCR Mobile Minute. Martha has been with RCR Wireless News since 2011. Her current focus areas are wireless infrastructure and heterogeneous networks. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her at Twitter @mdegrasseRCR