In a briefing with media, HTC CEO Peter Chou says that the company is looking to eye the tablet market but wants to stand out from the crowded space. The company is also looking to enter the entry-level smartphone market as well, but says that its strategy would not endanger its premium brand image.
For tablets, Chou says that “Tablet is a market we would like to try and test, to see whether we can make ourselves stand out and prevent a me-too product.” HTC’s sentiments echo that of rival Nokia, which is also eyeing the tablet market and that company recently stated that Windows 8 presents unique opportunities, but declined to elaborate what those opportunities may mean for its personal strategy.
The company to date has released only two products–the HTC Flyer (and the HTC EVO View 4G variant for Sprint) in a 7-inch single-core form factor and also a dual-core 10-inch HTC Jetstream tablet. Both tablets differentiate themselves from other consumer tablets by integrating with an optional HTC Magic Pen that incorporates HTC Scribe technology for making quick notes and annotations. Though Scribe runs deep inside specific apps–like HTC Reader for e-book reading, HTC Notes for note-taking and drawing, and others–the pen-enabled interface doesn’t extend to the OS level and users would still need to switch between finger and pen for input.
Prior to Android, in the past, HTC had tinkered with a Windows UMPC tablet product with a sliding and tilting keyboard called the HTC Shift. The product was a niche one at the time and wasn’t readily available in the U.S. though interested consumers could input the Shift from select retailers online.
It’s unclear how HTC will tackle the tablet market with Chou’s comment. Given that the smartphone-maker creates phones that utilize Android and Windows Phone 7, HTC could potentially release a Windows 8 tablet in the future as well through its partnership with Microsoft.
The company is also eyeing the emerging market with entry-level smartphone products, but Chou says that HTC will not be giving up its premium brand image to do so. “Customers are willing to pay more, that’s why we have grown nearly five times in China this year. It shows that customers support our philosophy,” Chou says.