In an interview with Fox Business yesterday, HP CEO Meg Whitman said that “we have to ultimately offer a smartphone.” So we know that HP has a smartphone on the way, but the question is: what is going to power it? Is it even possible that it could be Android?

In 2010, HP seemed ready to take on the smartphone world when it purchased Palm, and webOS with it. As it turned out, HP’s venture into the smartphone world was ill-fated. By mid-2011 it announced its plans to exit the smartphone market.

With news of HP re-entering the world of smartphones, everyone is talking about what platform they’re going to be running. Being a computer manufacturer, HP has close ties with Microsoft and this has some saying the next HP smartphones will run Windows 8 or RT. Others are saying that there is still hope for a phone powered by the now-open source webOS. Others are saying that there is an outside chance that HP could purchase the currently-struggling RIM and Blackberry with it.

What nobody seems to be talking about is the possibility of an Android powered HP smartphone. Like webOS, Android’s open source nature would allow HP to lower the costs on handsets, and Android has brand recognition that webOS can’t match. Android and iOS dominate the market, and while Windows and Blackberry fight for third place, it’s likely that webOS would fall behind.

Of course, HP has plenty of reasons not to use Android as well. Their own webOS has its share of fans who would like to see it on more powerful hardware, and phones powered by Microsoft software could lead to bundling deals and lower costs overall on a wide range of software for HP.

HP could always decide on more than one option as well. They certainly wouldn’t be the first hardware manufacture to produce phones running different operating systems, and though they are having some issues as of late, HTC has proven that this can be profitable.

Do you think we’ll ever see an Android smartphone from HP?

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