There’ve been rumors going around for ages that phone maker HTC plans to introduce a new tablet to compete with the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and you know, tablets from pretty much every major PC maker. Now Digitimes is reporting that the HTC tablet could drop in the first quarter of 2011.
I’m taking the report with a grain of salt for now, but Digitimes says its information comes from “Taiwan-based component makers.” The tablet could reportedly run Google Android 3.0, which seems like kind of a no-brainer, since I suspect most Android devices released in early 2011 will likely run Android 3.0.
HTC makes some of the most popular smartphones on the market today, so there’s reason to expect that the company could crank out a pretty high quality tablet. Unfortunately there’s no information about the screen size, processor type, or any other features that would make HTC’s rumored tablet stand out from the crowd. We did see a tantalizing design for an HTC device with two screens earlier this year…
The company has produced tablets in the past, such as the HTC Shift, which ran Windows.
I remember HTC’s previous slate, errrrrr I mean tablet, the Advantage. That doesn’t count though because it was pre-Tablet Fad.
I question the rationality of calling Android slates competitors to Apple’s slates or Windows 7 slates and tablets. It implies that the markets (meaning set of buyers) overlap. I don’t think they do, mostly because there’s no business analysis that implies they do and much that suggests that they don’t. People aren’t making choices based on device device size (if they were then these would all be competitors). Rather, they appear to be making choices based on brand or operating system. That’s not really “competitive”. It’s like calling the Toyota Prius a BMW 3 series competitor. While it may be marginally true, it feels insincere to assert as the typical situation.
More than anything, rumors like this feel like a marketing effort. You put out some information, assess if it takes hold, and make a decision about pricing or releasing based on that. I’m sure that an HTC slate would be well built and a good product, but HTC’s reluctance to get back into the slate market might also be read as a vote of inconfidence with respect to the current Slate Fad. In fact, an Android slate’s chief competitor may be an Android phone. With Android slates falling flat thus far, HTC can be content to sit back and watch. However, if they do start taking off, then HTC needs to be worried because it could eat into their mobile phone sales. At that point, they’ll need to get into the slate game to keep moving units.
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