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HP reportedly developing Android-based tablet

Hewlett-Packard is turning its attention to Android and will release several gadgets that run Google's mobile OS, according to a new report from ReadWrite.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the blog said the first Android-based HP device will be a tablet powered by Nvidia's Tegra 4 chip, which made its debut at CES. It's not clear, however, whether HP will venture into Android-powered smartphones.

An HP spokeswoman said the company does not comment on rumour or speculation.

HP has fallen behind on mobile in recent years. In 2010, it completed its $1.2 billion (£770 million) acquisition Palm, and by early 2011, it unveiled the HP Veer and Pre 3 smartphones, as well as the TouchPad tablet.

The TouchPad was barely on the market, however, before HP discontinued support for webOS devices in August 2011, including the TouchPad. It even considered ditching its PC business, but reversed course after Meg Whitman took over as CEO. The move left the future of webOS in doubt, but by year's end, HP decided to open source the OS.

As a result, HP's focus of late has been on PCs. But as that market shrinks thanks to the influx of affordable tablets and smartphones, HP likely needs to make a move on mobile.

As ReadWrite points out, meanwhile, nabbing HP would be music to Google's ears. The company lost Nokia to Microsoft and Windows Phone, so having a big player like HP in its corner could help further boost Android. Whether HP can produce something to rival Android king Samsung, though, remains to be seen.