HP PC Unit Spinoff Might Revive the TouchPad

Posted by at 9:50 am on August 30, 2011

A spun-off HP PC division might bring back the TouchPad, Personal Systems Group lead Todd Bradley said in an interview Tuesday. He saw the tablet field as a market area that’s “relevant, absolutely” and thus that the company could come back with a webOS device, according to Reuters. Current HP CEO Leo Apotheker had axed the TouchPad after saying it didn’t get enough traction just seven weeks into its lifespan.

Any resurrection would most likely involve a new or heavily upgraded design. The PSG division making PCs won’t decide on whether to spin out until December and would take months from then to become separate, making it necessary to develop a sequel. It would also presumably need to get a webOS license from its former owner.

Regardless of plans, Bradley was convinced that his PC division as a separate entity would stay in the top spot for market share. He was on a Southeast Asian tour Tuesday both to reassure local partners as well as to double down on the group’s commitment to the area. While it would merge six offices into one in Shanghai, it would also boost the manufacturing output in the city.

There would be some costs to “unwinding the integration” of PCs within HP, but it would be more effective than selling off to a competitor like Acer or Lenovo. “The numbers don’t support that that strategy works,” the executive said.

Concerns have existed that a stand-alone HP PC group might lose its position or be more vulnerable. In its current position, it can use the larger HP structure as a safety net for downturns like this year, where the acknowledged iPad effect saw PC shipments fall quickly. Without this, its health would ride solely on whether or not it can succeed on computers and tablets alone.

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