Feb 13 AT 5:08 PM Taylor Wimberly 19 Comments

HP to adopt Android for upcoming mobile devices


Having failed to carve out a place for itself in the post-PC era, Hewlett-Packard is now taking drastic measures — by adopting Google’s Android OS for a series of upcoming mobile devices.

It’s a bit of a Hail Mary pass for HP, which has fallen years behind its rivals in the mobile space. It’s also a big win for Google, adding another powerful partner to the Android ecosystem.

HP’s first Android device will be a high-end tablet that is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 chip, and it could be announced soon, according to two sources familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they are not allowed to discuss unreleased products.

The Verge also reports that their sources have confirmed HP is building Android tablets, but notes that “the details are still up in the air.”

The tablet has been in the works since before Thanksgiving and sources say it could be one of the first tablets to ship with Tegra 4. NVIDIA’s latest mobile chip was just announced during CES and it features some impressive specs, but we have not seen many devices adopt it yet. NVIDIA’s own Project Shield gaming system is slated to debut Tegra 4 in Q2, while partners Toshiba and VIZIO are reported to be working on Tegra 4 tablets.

Sources also say that HP is currently exploring the launch of an Android-powered smartphone, but recent comments from CEO Meg Whitman indicate the company will not offer a mobile phone this year.

HP declined to comment on its plans, but the news of such a tablet shouldn’t come as a big surprise. HP has been toying around with Android devices since 2010, and some might remember the mysterious TouchPads that shipped with Android installed instead of webOS. Most recently, HP has teamed up with Google and released their own Chromebook.


The move to Android could help HP regain ground in mobile computing, where so far it has lagged behind Apple, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and many others.

Over the last couple of years HP’s track record in mobile has been a disaster. In 2010 they spent $1.2 billion to acquire Palm and announced they would double down on webOS after Palm’s smartphones had failed to catch on with consumers. But the resulting products were massive failures and HP decided to stop making mobile devices and went on to open source webOS.

HP recently regained the top spot in the PC market by leapfrogging Lenovo, according to research firm Canalys. However, HP only leads the PC market when tablets are taken out of the equation. If tablets are counted as PCs, Apple jumps to first with 27 million units shipped in Q4 2012 and HP falls behind to second place with only 15 million PCs shipped.

At first glance adopting Android looks like yet another desperation move from a lumbering giant that ruled in the last era but can’t seem to figure out the new one. But HP has no choice but to figure out something here. The truth is, PCs are over, and the future is all about mobile.


It’s unclear how many mobile OSes HP will support going forward, but the news that they are going down the Android path is a significant win for Google. Android has been slowly evolving towards the desktop PC market, and HP could be the partner that helps Google turn the tide in that area.

“HP supporting Android at this point in time is deeply strategic,” said Ben Bajarin, Principal analyst covering consumer market intelligence and trends for Creative Strategies, Inc. “As any vendor who has history in the PC industry knows, it can be rough when you are completely dependent on only one OS platform provider.”

“It worked out well during the PC growth period because Windows was the standard computing platform. That is no longer the case when it comes to mobile computing where Android is the leading licensable mobile OS platform,” said Bajarin. “The reality is that if HP, or any vendor for that matter, wants to have a relevant tablet / mobile strategy, it has to include Android.”

Most of the traditional PC OEMs have already experimented with Android tablets, and now several have trimmed their roadmaps after discovering there’s no money to be made in the low-end of the market. HP will face the tough challenge of releasing just another Android tablet, so it will be interesting to see what kinds of software and services they provide that help differentiate them from the competition.

HP is holding private meetings during this month’s Mobile World Congress and they might show off their Android tablet behind closed doors, but we were told not to expect an official announcement until after the show. Expect more details in the coming weeks.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • ben steel

    Ouch…That’s gotta sting their old pal Microsoft more than a little…can a Chrome book be far behind…?

    Ps: Been away for a while…and just checked in with the Holiday giveaway list…..you haven’t picked all the winners yet…?


    What’s up with that..?

    • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

      You mean like the HP Pavilion 14-c010us Chromebook? ;-)

      • ben steel

        Hadn’t seen that one….up until now, it seemed to me that only Samsung and Acer were doing any marketing…thanks

    • Monk

      Yes, HP must be mad with MS helping Dell going private. This can be a good play to get some love from MS…

  • ahmed86

    Apple is the leader

  • redraider133

    I will be interested to see what HP does and if they support it longer than they did with their webOs devices

  • Moises Rivera

    It’s true, my dad works for HP and they have already dropped from having their employees to use windows phones, and have adopted android phones. This was done recently, so I can see this happening pretty soon.

  • renyo

    I never really like HP laptops (never owned their Desktops)… I had one and it had hardware issues… I know a lot of people who owned one and never went back to it due to hardware issues… One particular person took care of his laptop like a baby and yet the motherboard fried on him thrice… What I’m trying to say is that I hope they make good quality phones… Can’t have hardware issues… Not when they’re entering to the mobile market…

    • clocinnorcal

      I can second that. I have had a few HP laptops for work and personal. Time and time again they would have hardware issues. The most common was optical drive and CPU fan. I also treated them like babies. However, around this time I believe there were a few PC giants that were catching major flak for using inferior capacitors and other circuit board hardware.

  • donger

    Can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves.

  • tengkuamira

    They usually screw things up by using crappy low-end parts and components that make their stuff look and feel cheap.

    I’m not sure if what they consider high end will actually be high end……. http://tinyurl.com/hpandroidos

  • swazedahustla

    The fact that my HP touchpad is still keeping up with most tablets of today running 4.2.1 shows that HP atleast knows how to put some good hardware together. Now can they maintain this for the long haul is the question. But paying $99 for this tablet that keeps up with my wifes ipad is impressive.

  • wyatt

    lol HP. they had a homerun with the touchpad and palm line. I have no faith in them. Infact, I have less faith in HP than I do in Archos. That’s right. I dragged archos into this.

  • John Patrick

    HP was one the big guns during the PDA era and they made some robust devises. Before that they were the benchmark on high-end business calculators, so they have a lot lot of expertise in mobile products. Their laptops were a mixed bag with the low-end consumer laptops not fairing well. Their business laptops were great devices and proved pretty durable – at least in my experience. I think this will be good for both Android and the consumer.

  • Nathan D.

    Hopefully, they don’t half ass it.

  • scubabum

    Glad to see HP adopting Android for their tablets. They have the talents and resources to come up with good products. Just hope that they stay committed this time.

  • kazahani

    I like HP PCs, except for all the bloatware they include. It’s gotten past the level of ridiculous. I sincerely hope that they realize they can’t do that with mobile devices.

    I agree that they need to bring something new. To me, the best benefit of owning an HP is their tech support and customer service. If they can deliver the same services to their Android customers then they will do quite well.