RealTime IT News

H-P Details Mobile Initiatives

Hewlett-Packard Co. Wednesday detailed its initiative to enter the mobile Internet segment using third-generation (3G) network architecture as well as made its first major push in establishing a division for web devices and embedded systems.

Attending the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France, H-P announced it is developing a General Packet Radio System (GPRS)-enabled version of its HP Jornada personal digital assistant (PDA) with the voice capabilities of a mobile phone. It has partnered with T-Motion to offer Internet portal and specialized services on future HP Jornadas.

Ironically, in its own PDA brochure literature on the H-P web-site, the company still advocates against wireless web connections: "the ability to access the content of the Internet through a PDA is more limited than through a desktop computer."

"Today's news goes a long way to empowering service providers with 3G mobile solutions, as well as transforming the mobile user experience," said Sebastiano Tevarotto, vice president and general manager, HP Network and Service Provider Business Unit.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company also lured former Motorola executive Iain M. Morris to take charge of a group whose focus is developing personal information appliances and embedded technologies. Morris, who had led Motorola's personal communication unit in Schaumburg, Ill., until last week, is now president of H-P's Embedded and Personal Systems (EPS) organization. The new hire reports directly to H-P's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina.

The fifth H-P unit, EPS, includes the firm's existing PDA/handheld appliances, wireless and Internet services, personal storage appliances, embedded software and calculator businesses. Two other product divisions -- computing systems and printing and imaging systems -- create technology solutions and products. Two customer-oriented organizations market and sell solutions for business customers and consumers.

H-P said its decision to forge a new unit stems from the growth of its handheld appliance market, but perhaps a more salient point is its position as the top CD-writer supplier in the market at 32.6 percent, according to PC Data. This is no doubt due to the explosion in digital music and imaging popularity.

Add to those facts that the company is also lead developer of the DVD+RW standard for DVD writers, which allow consumers to record videos and other content onto DVDs, and H-P has a nice value proposition on its plate.

In related news Wednesday, H-P also made some strong inroads into caching and streaming media with software maker Inktomi Corp. H-P will build intelligent caching and streaming media appliances using Inktomi's software. To do so, HP will embed Inktomi Traffic Server and Traffic Server Media-IXT software into customized HP Netservers to create three products for edge and server caching and streaming.

Once completed, the Web Cache SA 2100, the Web Cache SA 2200 and the Media Cache Server Appliance SA 2250 will allow caching and fast delivery of rich media. The products are expected to begin shipping in Q2 2001.

In a company statement H-P admitted that it was aggressively pursuing the caching and streaming server market, which could hike to as much as $13 billion by 2004, according to research firm IDC.

"HP aims to work with leading vendors, such as Inktomi, to create the best appliance solutions for its customers," said Frank Harbist, general manager, H-P Server Appliances.