HTC can't afford to mess around with a rumored Windows RT tablet

HTC can't afford to mess around with a rumored Windows RT tablet

Summary: There are rumors that HTC made be coming out with a Windows RT tablet, and I think that is a huge mistake for the financially failing company. It has an excellent device in the One, and needs to market the heck out of it to try to get back in the game.

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I like a good April Fool's joke, and at times it is tough to figure out if something is true or not, especially given the fact that so many stories are written without verification just to bring in page views. I hope the rumored HTC Windows RT tablet is one of these fake rumors, but I suspect it might be real. HTC is experiencing serious financial issues, and it doesn't have the bandwidth to lose focus of its smartphone sales to spend time on a platform that hasn't generated much excitement.

I bought a Microsoft Surface RT, and found it to be a decent device, primarily for the student who needs Office on the go. However, I think it serves a limited audience and I sold mine to buy the Surface Pro, which is much more useful for my needs. Given the outstanding Microsoft Surface RT quality and design with limited platform appeal, I don't know why any other manufacturer would waste resources competing with an RT product.

HTC previously made a couple of Android tablets, the HTC Flyer and HTC Jetstream, neither of which reportedly sold very well. There are many reasons for their failure, including a lack of upgrade to current versions of Android, extremely high pricing, and limited tablet functionality in Android.

There is no doubt that HTC can make fantastic hardware, but design is not its problem. Upgradeability, both in terms of hardware (microSD card expansion and removable battery) and software (limited support for updating devices with HTC Sense to the next version of Android) are issues that it has with its smartphones. It also lacks any real marketing, and if people are not talking about its products, then they are not buying them. HTC should spend any available money they have on marketing the heck out of the HTC One and forgetting about secondary devices like a Windows RT or Android tablet.

An HTC Windows RT tablet would probably have hardware that rivaled Microsoft's Surface, but few would likely care. It would also likely be priced out of most consumer's budget and sell maybe a few thousand. HTC needs to focus and double down on marketing the One, so hopefully this rumored tablet ends up being just a rumor or I honestly doubt the long-term viability of HTC as we know it.

Topics: Mobility, HTC, Tablets, Microsoft Surface, Windows 8

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35 comments
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  • Its a correct move.

    HTC needs to diversify and a Win RT tablet is a first step in the right direction. With smaller Win RT tablets ( 5,7,8 inchers) in the pipeline (part of Windows Blue/8.1), this move will help HTC to grab headlines and mindshare. Windows 8 app store is quickly filling up and there are plenty of apps available. If consumers can spend $399 for a silly iPad, a similarly priced Win RT tablet with similar looks like the HTC One is a no-brainer.

    With some marketing help from MS, I guess they will sell well.
    Owllll1net
    • Your post is a "no brainer" (as usual)

      A lot of wishful thinking on your part.

      HTC cannot afford to gamble on stuff unlikely to sell in volume. They need to survive. MS cannot even sell their own RT hardware. How the hell are they going to help HTC sell theirs.

      Get a grip on reality.
      D.T.Long
      • RT is good for .....?

        Looked, tried, dropped.
        The hardware / software combo for RT is soooooo poor.
        Ow if the came out with a low end Pro ..... Hmmmm
        rhonin
    • Forget this MS marketing gift idea. It won't happen.

      I agree with Matt on this one issue. Not only do they have to compete against a state of the art tablet design (for the RT version of Windows 8), they must still pay Microsoft for the Win RT license.

      Actually, I think the real reason that other companies (like Samsung) have dropped plans to manufacture RT tablets in the hopes of trying to compete against the MS Surface RT is precisely due to this up front OS cost handicap.
      kenosha77a
      • While I agree with you,

        both Lenovo and Asus have good RT devices, and they compete with Surface RT in quality wise.
        Ram U
      • Well, MS will be more than happy if partner devices are selling well.

        Because it will help establish the Windows tablet eco-system and grab more market from competing platforms and MS will be ultimate winner in such a scenario.

        Samsung is just pretending to be an MS partner and they have screwed up WP8 and Win RT launch with some hard to believe excuses.
        Owllll1net
      • Don't forget that OEMs such as HTC must also compete against Microsoft's

        Surface Pro with their own tablets based on Windows 8 Professional.

        The downside for Windows RT-based tablets is that OEMs are already manufacturing Windows 8-based tablets and selling them in the same price range as Windows RT. Windows 8-based tablets provide users with the capability to use the Windows software that they're used to using. Windows RT, other than IE and Office RT, does not.

        But, having said this, Summer is coming which will bring at the front-end, graduation gifts for many graduates (especially those moving on to college), and at the back-end, back-to-school purchases that, typically, include PCs. Both Windows RT and 8, with the late October release, missed these big sales events in 2012. This will be an important Summer for Microsoft and Windows 8.

        Perhaps, HTC just wants to see what "sticks" with Windows 8 and it's variations including Windows RT and, forthcoming, Windows Blue.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Owllll1net...the only way they will sell at least THREE of them

      is if YOU, Loverock Davidson & toddbottom3 purchase them.
      Over and Out
    • It is the completely wrong move

      HTC is playing a no win game. If (and it is a big if) RT ever gains momentum Microsoft will certainly come out with their own 7 inch device and push HTC out, and if not they are just wasting money.

      The article talked about HTC failure with Android. They have spent to much time trying to make HTC's user interface instead of making a devices. HTC was giving to much freedom to change things with Android and it is destroying them. Windows Phone OS has worked well for them because they are force to make hardware and stay out of the software (for the most part).

      HTC should focus on Windows Phone and leave the tablets alone. They have had some small success with the lumia and if they want to survive that battle, it will need a lot of attention.
      alex_darkness
      • Lumia?

        Er, methinks the Lumia is made by Nokia, Sir, not HTC!
        fifidonkor@...
  • Microsoft is out of the game

    Regardless of whether we are in a post-PC era or not, or whether we need tablets or not, Microsoft is done and HTC or any company would be foolish to support Windows tablets.

    Microsoft has lost a generation of programmers to non-MS, non-x86 platforms. If I was 14 right now and had the choice of learning programming to hack hardware, I'd grab a raspberry pi to play with and interface it with some cool gadgets. If I wanted to try and make money, I'd try my luck at iOS apps. Windows 8 would be at least third, and probably fourth down on my list. And that is probably why neither Phone 8, Windows 8, nor Windows RT have set the world on fire.

    To get into bed with a marginal platform and sink money into building another Windows tablet is foolhardy.

    To Microsoft: If you still can't get a Windows x86 tablet running for at least 8 hours by 2014, pack up and go home because runtime will be the sword that x86 falls on in the consumer space.
    croberts
    • Yes, yes

      Microsoft will be dead, soon.

      I've been reading it for years about how if in the next year they don't shake everything up, they'll lose the consumer market.

      Guess what? They still have it strong.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Please do some research before making false claims.

      Atom processors already give 8+ hour battery life. The VivoTab Smart has 9.5 hours. Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is up to 10 hours. You can run x86 apps on both. Don't be blinded by hatred.
      ikissfutebol
    • SO I guess what your saying is that HTC should make an RT tablet?

      FYI:
      * 10 hour battery life all ready achieved.
      * No one I have ever met has / wants a Pi. We have real computers.
      * Most iOS programmers own at least one windows PC (Yay Microsoft!). Deal with it.
      * Windows 8 will outsell all currently existing versions of OSX in it's first year on the market.
      * "Microsoft is done" is done. We'll believe it when it happens

      Do you know why people are flocking to build iOS apps? For the same reason that windows isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Because you don't need to pay $0.99 to some script kiddie for a clock or a photo editor or a crappy 2D game on windows. There are already millions of apps for it. Almost everything they are developing for iOS already exists in windows.
      mrefuman
  • No Sh*t!!

    They need to make the crap they make now more reliable rather than come out with new lines. Keep the customers you HAVE – because they are losing them.

    I bought the EVO LTE and it is a crappy phone. I bought the Flyer and it too was a POS – it had crappy specifications, old OS, and had to pay $100 MORE for the privilege of BUYING a digitizer. The f-ing Surface Pro 64gb is cheaper – and it is a full blown computer!

    They need to hit a home run on HTC One, though I doubt it. They need to update their product’s OS! Next month I will be two upgrades away and it’s only about 6 months old!!
    Cain69
  • Does iPad have a linited audience

    because ipad runs a completely different os from Apple's desktops/laptops.
    Moosehouse
  • Someone needs to make a $199 7" Windows tablet

    Why not HTC? I'd prefer Nokia, but I won't be picky either. I doubt Microsoft would sell a 7" Surface RT for $199. It would be nice if it someone could get subsidized via an XBox Live account. Perhaps that will come with the next version of XBox getting released?

    Apps will come. As it is, there are already plenty of quality apps available. That said, there are obviously plenty of apps missing. There are certain service I already prefer the app over the website on a desktop, the main one being Hulu Plus. I think if facebook released an official app, I'd find myself on the desktop for mostly just desktop-caliber games.
    ikissfutebol
  • Windows what ?

    Oh RT, the version nobody wants, needs or cares about.
    Alan Smithie
    • Yes, RT. Use one first.

      .
      Owllll1net
  • It might just be time for HTC to rethink where they are going

    Throwing money at marketing for the HTC One may not really change anything. What is the killer feature that is going to propell the HTC One into the limelight? It may be a nice phone, but as soon as it gets compared to the Galaxy S4 it will pale in comparison like it did last year with the S3.

    How exactly is marketing the HTC One going to drown out the buzz surround the Galaxy S4 and the nonstop iPhone 5S/6 rumors? Even the Blackberry is drowning it out.

    A 10 inch Windows RT tablet would probably be a bad idea for HTC unless they can price it very competitively. A 7-8 inch Windows RT tablet at $200-250 would probably do very well. Even better if it was Windows 8.
    Emacho