December 21, 2012
HTC May Introduce Windows RT Tablets In The New Year
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
While Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC has been an early supporter of Windows Phone 8, the company has, in essence, been blocked by Microsoft in the Windows RT tablet space. Back in June, Microsoft reportedly didn´t allow HTC to license Windows RT for tablets.
Perhaps the Ghosts of Retail Future have paid a visit to Microsoft´s Steve Ballmer, as now rumors are circulating the Redmond software giant will allow HTC to release Windows RT tablets in the New Year. Ballmer likely wasn´t actually visited by any ghosts, but he did meet with HTC CEO Peter Chou on Thursday reported The Verge.
The two met to discuss the future of Windows Phone, which again HTC has been a keen supporter of, and it is likely that Windows RT must have come up at some point. This wouldn´t be the first such rumor of a change of heart from Microsoft; as far back as September it was rumored that HTC was in fact working on a Windows 8 tablet.
But now comes new rumors that suggest HTC is working on a pair of tablets running Windows RT. ZDNet reported one is expected to fall into the now standard 7-inch size — the same as Samsung´s Galaxy Tab, Amazon´s Kindle Fire, Google´s Nexus 7 and, of course, the recently released Apple iPad Mini — but the other will go big, namely 12-inches. While 10-inch tablets have also been standard, it could be seen that HTC is looking to break out with a slightly larger tablet.
Both will reportedly allow users to make phone calls directly from the devices and both will reportedly use Qualcomm chips. However, no other specs have been announced or even made it to the rumor stage at this point.
To date, HTC has decided against producing any Windows 8 tablets that would utilize Intel chips, citing the added cost — which could drive the devices up to $1,000 at retail — as the primary rationale. It is clear HTC is looking to provide more affordable tablet offerings and the 7-inch version could be the first Windows RT device in that form factor.
Those looking to get their hands on one may have to wait a bit as well. Both tablets are currently slated to arrive in the second half of 2013.
But what else could be behind Microsoft´s change of heart? For one, it could be that the company is simply looking to get more products on the market. While it no doubt scored a decent early hit with its Microsoft Surface, the cost of the device has been a sticking point. Likewise, with so much tablet competition in the marketplace, Microsoft may be looking to get more RT devices in front of consumers.
However, having HTC on board could be too little and very much too late. HTC has had its own share of missed opportunities in the tablet market and it remains unclear if it has learned from past mistakes. Last year it announced the HTC Flyer, a stylus-compatible Android slate that attracted a fair amount of attention but was unable to connect with buyers. After seven months on the market, the product was discontinued.
No doubt HTC hopes to do better with the pair of Windows RT devices, but it will be at least six months before consumers get to weigh in.