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HP plans phablets for emerging markets

Reports emerge of large-screen budget models in development

This would not be HP’s first foray into smartphone territory and the company has already hinted at a re-entry to the market.
This would not be HP’s first foray into smartphone territory and the company has already hinted at a re-entry to the market.

Hewlett-Packard Co plans to develop several 6- and 7-inch handsets at unsubsidised price points between $200 and $250, according to a report by CNET.

The prices position the units to compete in emerging markets, such as China, India and Latin America, where newly affluent consumers have yet to choose a handset.

This would not be HP's first foray into smartphone territory. The company tried building phones and tablets before, running WebOS, which was repurposed from the Palm Pilot version after HP acquired Palm in 2010, but the products were discontinued in 2011 after failing to win over consumers.

HP has already hinted at a re-entry to the smartphone market. In September 2012, CEO Meg Whitman told the Fox Business Network that HP is "working on" smartphones, although she did not specify a timetable or target market. And in July this year, Yam Su Yin, HP's senior director for consumer PC and media tablets for Asia Pacific, told Indian media that the company's focus would include smartphones, but also did not comment on a timetable.

"It would be silly if we say no; HP has to be in the game," he said of the growing smartphone segment.