Sometimes you gotta fight fire with fire. It then stands to reason that sometimes you gotta fight the iPhone... with the iPhone.
Investors already know that Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) is preparing to re-enter the smartphone market after sitting on the sidelines for a couple years trying to recover from the Palm debacle. Numerous executives, including CEO Meg Whitman, have acknowledged that HP has to launch a smartphone to stay relevant in the computing market.
Some 3-D renderings leaked to phoneArena last night, showing a purported HP smartphone in the works. It's a crude mockup of questionable authenticity submitted by an anonymous tipster, but the device shown looks nearly identical to Apple's iPhone and has some interesting strategic implications.
Of course, the biggest difference is the operating system. Considering HP's growing partnership with Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) , it seems inevitably that the company will launch an Android phone. The leaked image shows a stock version of Android, which is in line with HP's recent strategy. The company has released several new Android devices mostly devoid of modification, although it adds a few tweaks of its own.
Earlier this morning, phoneArena followed up with a subsequent post with more information on the device, adding some possible credibility. The device may carry a 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 1,600 x 900, while packing a top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 inside. The camera specs also look high-end with a 14.5-megapixel primary camera and 5-megapixel front-facing shooter for high-res selfies. Investors also now have a code name to consider, the HP Brave, as well as an Android version, 4.2 Jelly Bean.
Those are respectable specs that HP may be packing in, which would be a stark contrast to its Slate 7 Android tablet. The Slate 7 is as low-end as it gets, with a low-resolution display and generic applications processor. The device launched at $169 but has subsequently been dropped to $140 amid tablet price-cut season.
No pricing information was leaked. While the HP Brave appears to have high-end specs, the PC maker might not try to target the high end of the market, where Apple and Samsung dominate. Instead, the company would have a better chance at targeting the mid-range with high-end specs and offer greater value.
However, Apple may also be about to move into that market segment in a big way with a mid-range iPhone. Can HP's iPhone beat Apple's iPhone? Probably not.
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Editor's note: Hewlett-Packard has denied the phone in question is an HP prototype.