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Last month, HP CEO Meg Whitman was quoted as saying “we have to ultimately offer a smartphone.” This lead us and many others to believe that HP had a smartphone in the works. While HP still plans to enter the smartphone market, apparently it isn’t going to be any time soon.

When talking about Whitman’s comments last month, we speculated that HP might be well-served by producing Android-powered phones. Just a day later, what appeared to be an Android-powered smartphone from HP showed up in benchmark tests. While the evidence was scarce, it still seemed to point toward HP releasing a smartphone, likely running Android, in the near future.

Quite A Stir

Yesterday, Whitman said that she had made “quite a stir” with regard to her comments last month and then continued to say “We don’t have any plans to introduce a smartphone in 2013.” Further, it looks like when we do finally see a smartphone from HP, it might be running Windows. Whitman said that the market for consumer devices was well covered, but that “every CIO I talk to wants to have a Windows device, backward compatibility, the ability to control those devices from a security perspective.”

It’s important to note that the quote above was regarding tablets.  Still, if HP is going to focus on business customers, it isn’t likely that they would offer a tablet running a Windows variant and a smartphone running another operating system.

Can a HP Smartphone Compete?

While banking on the business market may seem like a smart decision with the consumer market so crowded, it’s also a risky one. One need only look at the state RIM is currently in to see where focusing squarely on one market can leave you when a large portion of that market decides to move on to another platform.

With HP laying back and apparently not entering the market for at least the next year, do you think they will have a chance to compete? Or do you think they are only going to fall further behind the longer they wait to release a phone?

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