HTC Set to Join Nokia, Others in Windows Tablet Rush

Fences mended? After getting shut out of the initial Windows tablet push, and amid plummeting sales, HTC is working on two Windows RT tablets.

HTC, only days after it was revealed that Nokia is rebooting its Windows RT tablet plans, also is throwing its hat into the ring, according to an article in Bloomberg.

The Taiwanese handset maker is making up for lost time. HTC is reportedly readying two Windows tablets for release in the third quarter of 2013 after having missed the first wave of Windows tablets this year. The company was locked out of the Windows 8 launch due to weakening sales.

In recent quarters, HTC's financials have taken a hit as it struggled to reclaim mobile market share from its rivals.

HTC's profits plunged by nearly 80 percent during its third quarter. RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue noted, "HTC is still donating market share to Samsung and Apple, and its net profits are shrinking in dramatic fashion. In our assessment, other market-share donors include Nokia, Motorola, LG and Sony."

Hoping to staunch the bleeding, the company will take another stab at the tablet market by partnering with Microsoft.

Windows Mini Tablet

While much of HTC's plans remain shrouded in secrecy, sources revealed that the tablets will arrive in two form factors—a full-sized 12-inch model and a 7-inch slate to rival Amazon's popular Kindle Fire and Apple's new iPad Mini.

Sources also let slip one tantalizing detail that could shake up the mini-tablet market: HTC is adding calling capabilities to the 7-inch model. If released, the device could blur the lines between Windows RT and Windows Phone 8, the latter of which HTC offers on its 8X handset.

Interestingly, the company recently canceled plans to release a Windows Phone 8 smartphone with a 5-inch-plus screen because of the software's inability to support resolutions higher than 720p. The decision is a blow to Microsoft, whose mobile operating system competes in a market that is tilting toward devices with big, dazzling displays. They include HTC's own Droid DNA, which packs a 1080 by 1920 (full 1080P) display.

HTC Bets on ARM

Both tablets will pack ARM-based processors from Qualcomm and will run Windows RT. And don't expect an Intel-based Windows 8 (non-RT) tablet from HTC any time soon. HTC is aiming squarely at the consumer market.

"HTC had also been considering a tablet with Windows 8 running on Intel, but scrapped those plans because the company determined it would have to charge too much—around $1,000 for the device, making it difficult to sell enough of them," reported Bloomberg.

Pinning its hopes on robust enterprise tablet sales, Microsoft is releasing an Intel-based Surface next month. Prices start at $899, a considerable premium over the Surface RT's $499 base price for the ability to run legacy Windows applications.

Surface Pro will ship with Windows 8 Pro, fittingly enough. Unlike Windows RT, the mobile operating system can run both "Windows 8 Style Apps" (formerly Metro) and legacy x86 Windows applications, opening the device up to Windows' huge business software ecosystem.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...