Tesco has ditched its plans to launch a budget Android 4G smartphone, citing the competitiveness of the mobile market as too great for the firm to tackle.
Former Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke announced the supermarket’s intention to enter the mobile market back in May, as he looked to build on the surprising success of its Hudl tablet, which has shifted over 550,000 units.
However, in a blog post on Monday Robin Terrell, group multi-channel director for Tesco, said the firm has shelved its smartphone plans, as the market has moved on too much in just three-and-a-half months.
“Earlier this year we also announced plans to develop a smartphone under the Hudl brand. We were confident that we could offer customers something we saw was lacking in the mobile market: an affordable, quality 4G smartphone handset,” he wrote.
"As we developed the idea in the first few months of the year, we could see a gap we could fill for our customers. The technology sector is fast changing and constantly evolving, and since then the mobile market has become even more competitive.
“So in early July, I took the decision that we would put the phone on hold and concentrate on the Hudl 2 tablet.”
The departure of Clarke from Tesco due to the firm's poor financial performance of the past year could also have impacted on the decision, with other high-level execs wary of becoming embroiled in the smartphone market.
However, as Terrell notes, Tesco still has plans to release another tablet, the Hudl 2. Details remain thin but the Tesco exec promised improvements.
“Giving just a little detail away, Hudl 2 improves on just about every area of its predecessor, from screen size to speed, design and accessories," he said.
“Where the first Hudl was used by many as a secondary device, Hudl 2 has the capability to take its place as customers’ primary tablet in the home."
The device is expected to be unveiled at some point before the end of September.
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