Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) wants back into the tablet market, an effort that the company previously jettisoned under prior misguided leadership. What is so different about this effort here is that the move is coming at a price so cheap that you have to wonder about the profitability metrics.
Its 7-inch tablet is called the Slate 7 and HP plans to sell it for a low-low price of only $169. Here is where it gets complicated. It is using Android from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), but the price is $30 less than the Kindle Fire by Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and the Nexus 7 tablet from Google. It is almost half of the price of the iPad mini from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) at $329 per unit. This looks to be a race to zero on the proposed tablet pricing.
Maybe it is aimed more at unseating the Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) Surface tablet that starts at about $500. CNET reported earlier that WebOS is being acquired by LG but for televisions rather than for smartphones. Meg Whitman said last week that she wants to take share away from Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL), which also missed the boat on the tablet market.
It is hard to trust whether or not HP can adequately make a comeback in the tablet market. Its other efforts cost more than that of Apple, yet the younger generation only wants Apple (or Android) and says that Apple is a far better product. If HP really wanted this market it should have just stuck with its initial efforts. Oh well, missteps and misdirection from HP’s leadership at the time.
Maybe HP should just keep WebOS, the old Palm, and try to get back into the smartphone market too. Or not.
HP shares closed down 0.7% at $19.07 on the day, but that is a win considering how the DJIA closed down by 216 points or by -1.55%.