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

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.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor
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.

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