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HP linked with imminent release of budget Android smartphone

Speculation is increasing that computing powerhouse HP is very close to debuting an eagerly anticipated Android smartphone.

Sources from "inside HP" have apparently told 9to5Google that the inexpensive handset - to be aimed primarily at emerging markets - could debut as soon as this week.

The device is thought to be a large-display smartphone akin to the Samsung Galaxy Note range, though it obviously won't come with a premium price tag - $200, or about £120, is rumoured to be the asking price.

That means that we can expect some noticeable compromises on the specification front, including an average display, possibly to the tune of 720p.

HP is thought to have been working on this smartphone project for more than a year, following the poaching of current SVP for mobility, Alberto Torres, from Nokia.

The company had previously launched devices like the HP Veer and HP TouchPad following its acquisition of Palm and its webOS platform in 2010, though it discontinued these operations in late-2011.

However, last year, HP CEO Meg Whitman caused a stir by firmly committing to re-entering the smartphone space.

"[HP has] to ultimately offer a smartphone, because in many countries in the world that is your first computing device. There will be countries around the world where people may never own a tablet or a PC or desktop. They will do everything on the smartphone. We're a computing company, we have to take advantage of that form factor," she commented at the time.

We'll be keeping a close eye on the situation throughout the week and will bring you the full picture if and when HP breaks cover with its new Android device.