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Report: HP to market new smartphone to consumers

Wall Street Journal says Hewlett-Packard will come out with new version of iPaq that aims to reach beyond just businesses.

HP iPaq 910c Business Messenger
The HP iPaq 910c Business Messenger is getting a younger sibling, according to reports. CNET Networks

Aiming to push its hardware beyond the corporate world, Hewlett-Packard will release a new version of its iPaq smartphone that will also be marketed to consumers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

We don't have many details yet (iPaq App Store?), but the latest iPaq apparently will sport a touch-screen and keypad and will run on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, according to sources cited by the WSJ. The phone will likely hit Europe by the end of this year, with a broader release to follow.

Though definitely better known for its laptops and desktop PCs, HP isn't new to smartphones. The company has released several models in the past, including the HP iPaq hw6945 Mobile Messenger and the HP iPaq 510 Voice Messenger (the first Windows Mobile 6 smartphone). Both were geared mainly toward businesses, and both garnered their share of favorable reviews from users.

The most recent iPaq, the HP iPaq 910c Business Messenger, launched this summer. CNET reviewed the phone and found it to be a well-stocked, messaging-centric smartphone for mobile professionals, but said it faces stiff competition from the likes of HTC, Samsung, and Motorola.

Fellow PC maker Dell, meanwhile, has been hinting of its own plans to enter the smartphone realm. And up-and-coming PC maker Acer of Taiwan said earlier this year that it has a smartphone on deck for the end of this year or early 2009.