Meg Whitman says HP has to 'offer a smartphone'

HP bet big on the smartphone world when it purchased Palm, but the company fell flat on its face and webOS failed to take off. The reasons for the failure are numerous, but the new CEO Meg Whitman is smart enough to realize it can't simply abandon the market entirely. In an interview with Fox Business, she said that HP "ultimately has to offer a smartphone." Though she was willing to acknowledge that the company is "working on this," she would not divulge too many details about its mobile plans. Whether or not webOS may rise from the ashes as a largely community-powered platform remains to be seen, but we wouldn't be shocked to see HP pivot towards its longtime partner Microsoft, and release a Windows Phone 8 device. Perhaps the best glimmer of hope for the former Palm system was Meg's focus on developing markets. She rightly points out that, in some parts of the world, the first and only "computer" a person may own is a smartphone -- and reaching that audience is essential to Hewlett-Packard's success. Going back to the webOS well (with its open source support) would allow the company to save a few dollars on the cost of a new handset. Check out the video after the break for the full quotes in context.