By Alexandra Burlacu | May 14, 2012 02:22 PM EDT
HP has recently announced it will resume production of consumer tablets, but this time the tablets will run on Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system instead of WebOS.
Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest technology company, launched the TouchPad WebOS tablet in July 2011, but suspended production shortly after on account of poor sales. The price of the TouchPad was reduced to $99 during a fire sale, but HP seemed to be tired of consumer tablets, at least for a while.
HP to Merge Printing & PC Businesses
During the Global Influencer Summit 2012, HP chief executive Meg Whitman said resuming production is a strategic move for the company, aiming to capitalize on the extraordinary surge in tablet sales. Moreover, HP also intends to consolidate its printing and PC businesses. This merger will take place over the next three months, among HP's operating units.
The consolidation, with a combined business value of $65 billion, will centralize sales and marketing teams, unify products and reduce logistics costs, thus improving the company's overall business efficiency.
Ultrabooks, Key Product This Year
According to Todd Bradley, HP's executive vice president for printing and personal systems, HP's Windows 8 tablets will incorporate cloud-based technology, allowing users to share and store content online between various devices. Furthermore, Bradley added that Ultrabooks will be a key product this year, targeting both consumers and the enterprise sector. Meanwhile, HP's sleek-design Envy Ultrabook is aimed at the mass market, with a price tag of $700 - $800. HP will also offer a premium Envy for $999.
HP will be building a $100-million printer factory, and is currently searching for an Asia-Pacific location suitable for this endeavor. Thailand is among the top options, along with Indonesia, and Vietnam, said Bradley. Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam are the top three high-growth markets in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), as they still register low PC penetration rates. According to IDC associate vice president Bryan Ma, Asean's PC exports are expected to increase by 9 percent to 19 million units this year.
The Windows 8 platform, due to launch later this year, is part of Microsoft's strategy to bridge the gap between tablets and PCs, just like Apple found a middle ground with its OS X and iOS. The company has yet to announce an official launch date for the Windows 8 operating system, but a near-complete build will be released in early June. Several reports point to a third quarter launch as the most likely time frame, as it would allow Microsoft to take advantage of holiday sales with the new OS.
(reported by Alexandra Burlacu, edited by Dave Clark)