HP to launch new webOS phones in early 2011

BARCELONA Wed Oct 6, 2010 4:40am EDT

A logo of HP is seen outside Hewlett-Packard Belgian headquarters in Diegem, near Brussels, January 12, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

A logo of HP is seen outside Hewlett-Packard Belgian headquarters in Diegem, near Brussels, January 12, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Thierry Roge

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BARCELONA (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co will introduce smartphones in early 2011 using the webOS software it acquired through its $1.2 billion Palm buy earlier this year, a senior company official said on Wednesday.

"You will see us coming early next year with new phones," Senior Vice President Eric Cador told an industry conference.

HP bought Palm, an early pioneer in handheld devices, to tap into the fast-growing smartphone industry and get access to Palm's acclaimed webOS operating system.

"More importantly we acquired webOS," Cador told the conference in Barcelona, adding Palm's intellectual property was "extremely fundamental" in the deal.

HP, the world's largest technology company by revenue, is already a dominant force in PCs, servers, services and printers. But without a credible smartphone offering, it risked being left behind in a rising and highly profitable market, one that rivals both at home and in Asia are increasingly moving into.

PC makers Dell, Lenovo and Acer are all pushing into smartphones, which offer advanced services such as streaming video, e-mail and GPS in addition to voice calls.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by David Holmes)

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