Saturday, January 09, 2010

HP unveils cloud-based Internet tech

More than two years after Prith Banerjee took charge of HP Labs in Palo Alto, California, to overhaul the 44-year-old research organization of the world's largest IT company--a move initially seen by many as yet another cost-cutting measure by chief executive Mark Hurd--the 20 research labs in seven locations seem to be buzzing with activity and imminent commercial roll-outs of technology. On Friday, Banerjee unveiled the beta launch of a cloud-based Internet technology that allows rapid creation of mobile applications and can make online content and services available on low-end mobile phones. Called SiteonMobile, it is currently an inviteonly service and lets website/ portal owners and non-programmers to easily design mobile applications by just browsing the HP website. The cloud platform developed by HP creates SMS (short message service) and voice interfaces to existing websites.

"The idea is to extend the information and service available to 45 million Internet users to 450 million mobile phone users," says Banerjee. The service, which is currently being tested with three customers, will soon be launched with a revenue-sharing model where HP (Hewlett-Packard Co.) will seek its share just as Apple Inc. does through its AppStore. This aligns well with HP's gradual, strategic march up the stack--from a hardware to a software to a services company. Recently, it signed up a multi-billion dollar deal with retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for "managed print services" to handle its entire document work flow. A key technology there is from HP Labs India--trusted hard copy solution--that secures documents with two-dimensional bar codes.

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