Contrary to earlier statements, HTC may be headed back into the tablet game, only this time with Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system rather than Google’s Android OS. Though this would mark the first time that HTC would be using Windows RT, the smartphone-maker is no stranger to Microsoft’s larger desktop OS having dabbled with a hybrid slider tablet PC in the past in the form of the HTC Shift.
Reportedly, HTC’s tablet is said to debut sometime in 2013 and marks a reversal of position from what has been speculated from both Microsoft’s and HTC’s camp. The former was said to have excluded HTC from early Windows 8 and Windows RT tablet releases and the decision was premised on trying to create the best user experience by offering early access to trusted partners. However, as sales of both OSes have not been great for Microsoft, the software giant may be seeking more partners and Microsoft had seemingly renewed faith in HTC when it launched the Windows Phone 8X by HTC as the flagship Windows Phone model for the mobile platform.
On HTC’s side, lackluster sales of the 7-inch HTC Flyer–also available via Sprint as the HTC EVO View 4G as a WiMax tablet–and the 10-inch HTC Jetstream 4G–available via AT&T–had forced HTC to rethink its tablet strategy. The company had previously announced that it would at least withdraw from the competitive tablet market in the U.S., ceding the space to Apple and Samsung at the high-end.
HTC’s machines would be utilizing ARM processors rather than Intel chipsets, as rumored delays of Intel’s upcoming mobile processors have caused delays in product introductions for Microsoft’s OSes.
However, according to a Bloomberg report, which quotes sources who refused to be identified, HTC is ready to head back into the tablet market with a 7-inch and a 12-inch Windows RT tablet. Also, it looks like HTC is planning on Windows RT slates that will incorporate built-in mobile broadband 3G and 4G modems for ubiquitous online connectivity, something that many current Windows RT slates lack today, including Microsoft’s own Surface RT slate. What’s also unique is that HTC’s planned 7-inch model is said to be able to make and receive phone calls, bringing smartphone convergence with a tablet user experience. Likely, users who opt for this would likely use the slate’s voice call capabilities via a Bluetooth speaker or headset, or use the tablet as a speakerphone as holding a 7-inch device to your face would be unwieldy, if not awkward.
Bloomberg is reporting that neither Microsoft nor HTC is commenting on these alleged rumors.