During my first year at Hewlett Packard (my first job out of college and debut in the Silicon Valley!) I worked for the Emerging Platforms Group - a team tasked with conceiving new hybrid platforms and bringing to market innovative products.
This was also the time before HP decided they needed their own operative system and moved forward with the Palm acquisition. At this time HP was creating computers, mobile devices and hardware solutions that were powered, on the OS side, by collaborations with Microsoft and Google. Unfortunately not all of these collaborations went through smoothly! I personally believe it was this product that actually pushed HP to eventually acquire Palm in their quest to have control over their own OS. Let me explain further.
During this time at the Emerging Platforms Group I had the privilege to work with a very talented group of individuals, and together we envisioned, developed and shipped what became the Compaq AirLife 100, the world’s first Android Smartbook, based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset architecture.
The AirLife 100 was a clamshell device, connected by traditional WiFi but also featuring 3G cellular connectivity via SIM card. It had a physical keyboard and trackpad, but also a resistive touchscreen, a camera, and best of all, it was running Android OS! At the time, it was a really unique product with a really unique set of features.
Unfortunately Google didn't think the same. Android OS was open source so they couldn't prevent anyone from using and modifying it, however they were not pleased with the form factor, too different from a phone for which Android OS was conceived. The result? We still shipped but without Google app store, G Suite and any support to Google's services. A true limitation for a net-book of this kind.
For this project I participated in concept-to-delivery process and worked closely with the Software and Hardware Dev and QA teams. I worked on 3rd party apps integration which was a fantastic first experience in the industry as I coordinated with a dozen of different software companies, learning many Product Management skills, QA and agile development processes, as well as team leadership skills.
AirLife 100 shipped through Telefónica across Europe and Latin America just before HP acquired Palm, putting together their capabilities in creating great hardware with what at the time was one of the main players in the Operative Systems space for mobile devices. And the rest is history ;)
A few links you might want to check out:
Did we go to CES with an EVT Unit? Yup! Check out the Video here