Hewlett-Packard could resurrect the TouchPad tablet computer, possibly after spinning off its PC unit into a stand-alone company, an HP executive said in a report Tuesday.
"Tablet computing is a segment of the market that's relevant, absolutely," Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's personal systems group, which oversees the firm's PC and tablet business, said in an interview with Reuters.
Bradley said HP could bring back the TouchPad or offer up a different tablet at a later date, and that the company is still exploring the option of licensing out its WebOS operating system (which runs on the TouchPad) to other hardware makers. The TouchPad was introduced on July 1 and pronounced dead on Aug. 18.
Many retailers then dropped the price of the discontinued TouchPad to $99.99, leading to sellouts of the previously unpopular device in the U.S. and Canada.
Bradley also told Reuters that if HP does separate its PC business as expected, it would more likely do so by spinning off the personal services group, rather than by selling the unit to a rival computer maker in the same way that Gateway was sold to Acer and Lenovo bought IBM.
"Regardless of what happens, we're the largest PC company in the world," he said. "We need everybody energized, and while this isn't business as usual, we need people to go out and sell products every day."
The interview took place as Bradley toured China, visiting HP suppliers and retail partners to reassure them that the company is committed to doing business in that market despite the changes ahead for its PC-making unit.
He also told Reuters that if HP decides to do spin off its PC business into a stand-alone company, he expects to run that company.
"My intention would be to lead it through this transaction ... and if it's a stand-alone public company, to lead that," he said.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A Hewlett-Packard TouchPad at a Best Buy store in Orem, Utah. Credit: George Frey / Bloomberg