Bloomberg is reporting that HTC is working on a number of Windows tablets to take on Apple in 2013. The company is said to be working on two devices: a 12-inch tablet, and a 7-inch version that will be able to make phone calls. Both products will reportedly use Windows RT and run on chips provided by Qualcomm. The company is also said to have considered creating Windows 8 devices, but decided that they would be too costly — the report quotes a price of around $1,000 — so the option was scrapped in favor of an RT-only strategy for the moment.
Word broke just yesterday that Microsoft's Steve Ballmer was meeting with HTC CEO Peter Chou to discuss their future Windows Phone plans; it's not clear if Windows RT tablets were part of that conversation, but it seems clear HTC has been exploring tablet options for some time. In September it was reported that HTC was preparing a Windows 8 tablet — Qualcomm was mentioned at that time as well — and the company's chief product officer Kouji Kodera told us directly that HTC was interested in the market segment, and had put together multiple product concepts trying to create the right device.
The introduction of a 7-inch Windows RT tablet would give Microsoft a product that could directly compete with the Nexus 7, Apple's iPad Mini, and Amazon's Kindle Fire. Whether Windows RT will have matured enough to compete directly against iOS and Android devices in that form factor, however, is still an open question. We'll have to see the HTC devices themselves — reportedly set for release in the third quarter of next year — to know for sure.
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