HP Makes Another Smartphone Move

But the PC vendor has a hard road against high profile competitors, say industry watchers
Posted September 4, 2008

Judy Mottl

HP is shipping its second business-focused smartphone which it describes as "texting friendly," but industry watchers aren't very convinced the mobile device will make much of a dent in today's competitive marketplace.

The $499 unlocked 3G HP iPAQ 912 Series Business Messenger, which features GPS and HP's Enterprise Mobility Suite of applications on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, offers what HP claims are needed interoperability and productivity options. It is HP's second smartphone offering in the past 18 months.

"This isn't a $20 phone but one targeted to the business user and road warriors who heavily use email and text," a HP spokesperson told InternetNews.com, noting the devices full Qwerty keyboard.

"It [the smartphone industry] is still a new area for us, but we believe enterprises are looking for a device that can handle heavy business applications with ease," said HP.

One thing is sure, HP will have plenty of competition. One recent research report claims at least 100 new handsets will be in the market by year's end, and Motorola's portfolio of new devices alone will hit 50 if product expectations are met.

Just last month Nokia (NYSE: NOK) rolled out three new smartphones. Samsung has debuted several high-end devices this year including the Soul, F480, and the M800. Several weeks earlier, Palm debuted the Treo Pro and Treo 800w on the heels (and in the shadow, some would argue) of Apple's 3G iPhone launch.

A recent IDC report stated device makers shipped 306 million units (all mobile devices including smart phones) during the second quarter of this year -- up 5.6 percent from last quarter and a 15.3 percent increase from the second quarter of 2007.

Given the wave of devices and vendor noise HP will have to tap some its considerable resources and marketing muscle if it hopes to get any traction with its smartphone initiative.

"They've been in the market for several years, though very few people know it," said Jack Gold, analyst, J. Gold Associates, told InternetNews.com.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.

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