HP restarts tablet manufacturing

HP restarts tablet manufacturing

SHANGHAI : Hewlett-Packard (HP) has announced it will resume production of consumer tablets but says it will run them on Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system.

The world's largest technology firm suspended its touchPad WebOS tablet production line last year on poor sales.

Restarting production is a strategic move aimed at capitalising on the extraordinary growth in tablet sales, chief executive Meg Whitman said yesterday at the Global Influencer Summit 2012.

The California-based firm also plans to merge its printing and PC computer businesses.

The consolidation will take place among Southeast Asian's operating units within the next three months.

Ms Whitman said the merger, with a combined business value of US$65 billion, will improve HP's business efficiency by centralising sales and marketing teams, unifying products and reducing logistics costs.

Todd Bradley, the executive vice-president for printing and personal systems, said HP's Windows 8 tablets will come equipped with cloud-based technology, enabling users to share and store content online between different devices.

He also said ultrabooks will be a key product aimed at both consumers and businesses this year.

HP has introduced the Envy, a sleek-design ultrabook aimed at the mass market and priced from $700-800.

The company will also offer a premium Envy priced at $999.

HP is searching for an Asia-Pacific location to build a $100-million printer factory, with Thailand considered an option.

Mr Bradley said Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are the top three high-growth markets in Asean, as these countries still have low PC penetration rates.

Bryan Ma, an associate vice-president at the global research firm IDC, said Asean's PC exports are expected to grow by 9% to 19 million units this year.

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