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HP realigns emerging technology group

Hewlett-Packard shuffles several business units as part of an effort to cut costs. The move affects iPaq handhelds and other new products such as tablet PCs.

Hewlett-Packard has shuffled several business units, including its iPaq handheld division, as part of an effort to cut costs.

Handhelds, which had been part of Iain Morris' emerging technology unit, are now part of HP's notebook division headed by Alex Gruzen. The emerging technology group is now part of the office of strategy and technology, headed by Chief Technology Officer Shane Robison. The move was announced to employees earlier this month, an HP representative told CNET News.com.

The emerging technology group, which oversaw handhelds and other new products such as tablet PCs, will now focus on products before they come commericalized, serving as a kind of incubator. The group will help take ideas from HP's labs and work to develop a business model and marketing strategy, and create an eventual product.

An HP representative said the shift is a "strategic move to ensure we have world-class cost structure in PC business and at same time have a more focused strategy on innovation and incubation."

The move leaves uncertain the role of Sean Burke, the former Compaq Computer executive who had headed the combined company's handheld efforts.

"He's seeking other opportunities within the company," the HP representative said.

At Compaq, Burke was responsible for helping build the iPaq into the best-selling handheld running Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system. After the May merger, HP adopted the iPaq, choosing to largely phase out its own Jornada line of handhelds.

The company is slated to release two new models later this year, including a new, lower-priced model and a wireless handheld with Bluetooth and 802.11b networking built in.