Hewlett-Packard re-enters smartphone business

Following up on a promise by its CEO to get back into the smartphone market, Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday introduced two smartphone-tablet hybrids — known as phablets — for sale in India.

In a press release, the Palo Alto company said the 6-inch diagonal HP Slate6 VoiceTab and the 7-inch diagonal HP Slate7 VoiceTab are “designed to help the next generation of mobile customers multitask on the go.”

HP said the devices – which are slated to go on sale in February – are designed to run on Google’s Android operating system. But the company didn’t say how much they would cost or whether it would offer them in this country.

Whitman announced in 2012 that HP was getting back into the phone business, after it had briefly offered smartphones based on the platform developed by Sunnyvale-based Palm, which HP bought in 2010. Production on those phones was quickly halted because they sold poorly.

Photo by Kristina Sangsahachart, Daily News

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Steve Johnson covers the microchip industry, cyber security and the big-technology sector that includes Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Cisco Systems.