HTC to produce two Microsoft Windows RT tablets for release in 2013

HTC to produce two Microsoft Windows RT tablets for release in 2013

Summary: The phone maker is expected to release 7-inch and 12-inch models that can also make phone calls, but has decided against Windows 8 tablets because of the high cost involved.

HTC had previously been in the market with its Flyer tablet.

In the tablet world, a lot can change in a few months. Earlier this year it was revealed that the once red-hot phone maker HTC was denied the chance to make Windows tablets, as Microsoft did not add the company to its short list of partners who could create the first Windows 8-based models.

But now Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft has apparently relented, and HTC will be producing a pair of new tablets running Windows RT and slated to be released in Q3 of 2013. They will not only be notable for their size -- one is expected to be 7 inches and the other 12 inches -- but also because they will allow users to make phone calls directly from the devices. The 7-inch version would be the first Windows RT model in that size and compete against the Amazon Kindle Fire, Google Nexus 7, and Apple iPad mini. The HTC tablets would supposedly use Qualcomm chips, but no other specs have been disclosed at this time. 

HTC has decided against producing any Windows 8 tablets using Intel chips, as it would need to charge around $1,000 for them and it believes it wouldn't sell enough to make the commitment worthwhile. That decision, along with the fact that Microsoft softened its original stance against HTC, suggests the difficulty Microsoft is experiencing as it attempts to become a major player in the tablet market.

If Bloomberg's report is accurate, Microsoft is eager to get more Windows tablets on the market, which means it has to loosen its "short list" to allow more partners a chance to produce hardware. But it also suggests that it might have a tough time getting those partners to expand the range of Windows 8 tablets that are priced higher than most competing products.

Would you be excited by HTC's entry into the Windows RT tablet market? What would you like to see in an HTC tablet in order to get you to buy one? Let us know in the Talkback section below.

Topics: Tablets, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface

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  • Need MS Office functionality

    Fascinating as they have become as "toys," I am still waiting to buy the tablet that enables touchscreen entries into MS Word documents and Excel spreadsheets! The tablet that jumps into the light business applications is the one that will make sense to take traveling.

    It's altogether shameful (yet altogether characteristic) that Microsoft is using a new product to launch another operating system that demands another round of replacement software. Can't the big rollers set aside a little greed and just build on a solid base to offer versatile options without requiring total reinvestment? Windows 8 will remain a dull gimmick so long as it is backwards incompatible.

    Won't RT tablets just be another dead-end toy? If not, there's a big market for the tablet that can link to office applications. If one already exists, I'd sure like to know; but so far the reviews are focused on size and sensitivity features. Where's a tablet that can also work?
    • @ DeltaDINO

      Every single Windows RT tablet (including Surface) has Office installed out of the box. It doesn't just "link" to Office apps, they are pre-installed.
      • But that Office is not touch oriented

        As long as they only offer a desktop version of Office, it will never really be good on tablets because even though they added some touch-friendliness to Office it is still awkward to use it without a keyboard and mouse/trackpad.

        They should develop on what is in Windows Phone 8, it's a good start for touch-friendly Office!
        • There is a touch UI version of OneNote 2013

          When I look at my usage patterns, the lack of a touch only version of Office doesn't affect me at all. Office on Windows RT is plenty touch friendly enough for content consumption purposes. I can easily navigate around any document using nothing but touch gestures.

          When I'm ready to do some real content creation, I'm not going to do that while holding the tablet in one hand and tapping with the other, I'm going to do that while sitting down at a desk with the keyboard / trackpad out. Said by no one: "I'm just going to spend the next 30 minutes standing here, holding my tablet, while creating a complex Excel spreadsheet."

          The touch version of OneNote is useful because firing off a quick note while on the move IS a use case that occurs frequently enough. If MS ever came out with a touch friendly version of Word / Excel / PowerPoint, I suppose I could use it when viewing documents (though like I said, the version we have today works just fine for this purpose) but I would never use it to create content.
    • Surface and Office!

      I have been using Surface RT over the last 5 and half weeks and not noted any problem of using Office on it and also accessing it on my work laptop - which runs Windows 7.

      Also OneNote works great. Although my Surface is 64G version, most of the documents, spread sheets and PowerPoint I use reside on my SkyDrive and other locations within our FTP folders.

      Nevertheless, it is good to see HTC is allowed to join the Windows RT market, as this would lead to a cheaper versions that students can afford - a market segment that Microsoft is failing to attract.
  • ARM chips are too weak

    Loading a web page is slow when comparing with desktop browsers. No wonder it saves power, at UX expense.
    • I haven't experienced that at all

      Are you sure it's not a poor connection speed you are experiencing rather than a hardware problem?
      Michael Kelly
      • yes, like 100s of Android tablets out there. /s

        Ram U
        • sorry wrong thread.

          Sorry, wanted to reply to Alan below. :(
          Ram U
  • Oh Great !

    Means there will a couple more models in the discount bin come the autumn.
    Alan Smithie
    • yeah right, like 100s of Android tablets out there made by

      Samsung, Asus, Acer, Toshiba etc.
      Ram U
  • Sure, give HTC a chance!

    I would like USB 3.0, SD or microSD slot, HDMI, wireless and bluetooth. I will primarily use it for school, so it would need a separate, compatible keyboard and decent ( 6+ hours ) battery life. Also, I would love it if it also came with RetroUI, or a similar tweak to the operating system so I could work with something relatively similar to Windows 7. Got to hand it to Apple for making stuff even idiots can use right out of the box. Are you listening MS?
    • Then look elsewhere

      They said they won't develop for Intel (Windows 8) but only for ARM (Windows RT) so a retro UI wouldn't do at all on Windows RT.
    • Got to hand it to

      Apple IPAD can be used by idiots and is used by idiots, No connectivity whatsoever yes defo way to go Apple lol! When will people realise that Apple is taking the p... out of all its customers by repeatedly issuing tablets that have no connectivity ports (should make the ipad cheaper to manufactureye?) yet they charge premium, the only thing i hand to Apple is this well done fooling people by producing what can only described as inept hardware and still managing to sell to the masses (sheep come to mind?)
  • not really

    But I am very excited about the rumoured Nokia tablet.
  • if the price is right, I'm excited

    I would love to get a windows tablet but until they can shave a couple hundred off of the price, it's not worth it. If HTC prices their 7" tablet close to a Nexus 7 I will definitely be picking one up.
  • Making a phone call from the device?

    Hell, people don't even make phone calls from their phone! It's bad enough to see people taking pictures with their tablet, but making a phone call? I can't wait to see the Onion's take on that feature :-)
  • DOA

    Even if HTC uses better marketing techniques than MS this is DOA. Surface RT is already dead. A device and an OS that are so confusing due to its silly naming scheme have no chance on the market.
  • Great!

    It's better to have more options ...

    I like the idea of a 7" tablet with the capability of making phone calls, great!!!

    But don't forget to include a stylus!!
  • My Expectation from HTC on their debut Windows tablet

    HTC must ensure it has Gsm facilities, Great graphics for gaming, compatible with best windows Office and also access for marketing in Africa and the middle East.This is where they can easily gain popularity with the up-coming product. Thank you.