HP ElitePad 900

After failing with Palm’s intriguing WebOS platform, HP is now looking to Android for a future tablet and smartphone. But at this point, will it really matter?

The company is reportedly focusing its efforts first on an Android tablet running Nvidia’s powerful new Tegra 4 processor, two sources tell ReadWrite. The sources also say HP is working on an Android smartphone, but that likely won’t happen this year according to recent comment from chief executive Meg Whitman.

With Tegra 4 in tow, HP’s future Android tablet likely won’t be a cheap offering like the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire. It’s a chip meant for more powerful tablets that will directly compete against the iPad. Unfortunately for HP, no high-end Android tablet has taken off so far. Android’s surge in tablet market share is mostly coming from the cheaper offerings.

Given HP’s consistently disastrous earnings over the last few quarters, it can’t afford to spend a significant amount of time on a product that doesn’t have much of a shot at success. When it comes to high-end Android tablets, we need a company that’s going to do something completely new and different — that’s not exactly HP, which is mostly known for its printers and workhorse PCs. Heck, even Android wunderkind Samsung struck out with its most recent high-end tablet.

At this point, HP would be better off focusing on its Windows 8 tablets when it comes to the high end.

Even less is known about HP’s upcoming phone project, but at least this has a chance for success. While an HP Android phone probably won’t compete with Samsung’s Galaxy S series, it could be a way for HP to stake out a presence in developing countries.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat