One thing that can be said about the high-tech marketplace is that it does not lack ideas. But it is sometimes difficult to sort out the good ones from the bad ones. Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) has decided to chase one of the bad ones.
Blame it on the coming release of Windows 8 from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and the almost rabid hunger HP has to get back into the innovation game. The company today introduced three new products, including one called the HP Envy x2, which HP has dubbed a “hybrid PC.” That device has a detachable 11.6-inch screen that can be used as a tablet or, when connected to the keyboard, as a notebook. Such devices have been available for some time from makers like Asus, and customers have ignored them in droves.
Why HP thinks it can sell these things is a mystery. As a tablet, the screen is almost two inches larger than the iPad from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) — and that at a time when everyone else, including Apple, is looking at smaller screens. And the 11.6-inch screen makes for a pretty small notebook.
This has got to be one of those lab projects that seemed like a good idea at the time but that took too long to develop and is being introduced only to keep the engineering team happy. HP did not say when the devices would be available or what they would cost. A few more of products like this and HP will start looking for another CEO.
HP’s shares are down about 0.5% today at $16.86, just pennies above the 52-week low. The range is $16.81 to $30.00.