HP’s plan for Palm and webOS may not have worked out exactly as planned, but that doesn’t mean the PC giant is giving up on smartphones. In fact, HP CEO Meg Whitman told Fox Business Network in an interview that her company has no choice but to offer such a device at some point in the future.

Here’s a transcript of Whitman’s statements:

In the end, I would love to be able to provide all the way from the most fabulous work stations (by the way we just took over the number one position in workstations from Apple) to desktops, to laptops, to our tablets and convertibles, all the way to smartphone. But we did take a detour into smartphone. We’ve got to get it right this time. My mantra to the team is: “better right, than faster than we should be there.” So we’re working to make sure that when we do this, it will be the right thing for Hewlett-Packard, and we will be successful.

We have to ultimately offer a smartphone because in many countries of the world that is your first computing device. You know, there will be countries around the world where people may never own a tablet, or a PC, or a desktop. They will do everything on the smartphone. We’re a computing company; we have to take advantage of that form factor.

So, what should HP do? The company doesn’t have many options. Let’s start with the least likely and work our way up.

What about buying Research In Motion? I think Palm was bad enough, and Whitman agrees: “No, that is not a direction that we’re going to head.”

What about going with Windows Phone 8? HP has a strong relationship with Microsoft, although the company chose to skip Windows RT tablets. Plus, it’s not exactly a quickly growing platform, though it certainly has potential. HP could try to sell bundles of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices.

What about going with Google’s Android? It’s a mature platform, and probably the easiest to adopt. Unfortunately, HP would then have to compete with all the other Android manufacturers, including behemoths like Samsung and HTC.

Frankly we think it’s too late in the game for HP to start its own thing. The company is going to have to think of a clever partnership, assuming of course Whitman gets her wish.

Image credit: stock.xchng