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Hewlett-Packard developing smartphone

Company looks beyond PC users

Hewlett-Packard Co. is working on a new smartphone as its core personal computers and printer businesses continue to dwindle, CEO Meg Whitman said in an interview Friday morning.

In an appearance on the Fox Business Network, Whitman said the company is developing a new phone to ensure it can get mobile devices into the hands of consumers who use smartphones as their sole computing device, especially in foreign countries.

“We have to ultimately offer a smartphone because in many countries of the world that is your first computing device. You know, there will be countries around the world where people may never own a tablet, or a PC, or a desktop. They will do everything on the smartphone. We’re a computing company; we have to take advantage of that form factor,” Whitman said, according to a transcript.

HP previously attempted to push into the mobile device market with its $1.2 billion purchase of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Palm in 2010, offering smartphones and eventually a tablet from that company based on the WebOS platform developed by the company. The devices did not catch on with consumers, however, and HP eventually decided to offer WebOS as an open-source operating system.

Whitman did not say what operating system an HP smartphone would use. The Palo Alto, Calif., tech giant has a close relationship with Microsoft Corp., with its personal computers running the company’s Windows operating system. Smartphones running Microsoft’s new Windows Mobile software are expected to hit the market soon, with devices being developed by Nokia, Samsung and other hardware manufacturers. Google’s Android mobile OS could also be an option.

Whitman’s comments focused more on the hardware, with the CEO saying “We’ve got to get it right this time.”