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Windows Phone 8 will be 'less than explosive' - HP bigwig

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HP is in no rush to accelerate its reentry into the world of smartphones: last week's launch of a certain mobile operating system by Microsoft passed without so much as a whiff of any new handy handheld hardware from Palo Alto.

Smartphones and tablets remain the growth drivers for intelligent devices, outstripping demand in the declining PC industry. But HP doesn't have a major foothold in either of those markets since former chief exec Leo Apotheker fly-tipped the TouchPad and Pre3 in summer 2011 before being shoved toward the metaphorical scrap heap himself.

"Smartphone is part of a broad way that we interact with computing so in that sense its important HP be part of that," said Dan Tindall, HP's printer and PC veep for worldwide channel development and SMB.

"It's a huge market, we recognise its size and it's something we are studying. There is nothing to [yet] announce from HP for fiscal 2013."

Part of the device drought has been addressed by HP: it's back in the tablet game with the Envy X2 that launched in October.

But CEO Meg Whitman reckons HP will "inevitably" get back into smartphones, which leaves it with several likely options - to go back and develop WebOS or opt for Windows Phone 8.

Tindall believes the short-term opportunity for Windows Phone 8 is "smaller than explosive in the first few quarters".

Pretender to HP's PC crown Lenovo has grown to be number one in the smartphone space in China and is pushing out the products in India, the Philippines and Russia.

Neil Berville, Lenovo exec director for EMEA channel, said the future of PCs will be on four platforms: phones, traditional form factors, tablets and TVs.

"We will have Windows phones [in Europe], we'll launch with Intel, so it's part of our longer term strategy," he said.

Berville said the rate of adoption of Windows Phones had been slow to date, "so it's quite a challenge for Microsoft".

Canalys analyst Tim Coulling said there hadn't been a huge marketing effort from Microsoft prior to Windows Phone 8, but he expected an ad campaign to detail how the phone and PC operating systems will work together. ®

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