HTC Corp (宏達電) plans to make tablets based on the Windows operating system, giving Microsoft Corp another ally in its challenge to Apple Inc and Google Inc in the US$63.2 billion market, people familiar with the matter said.
HTC, excluded earlier this year from the first batch of Windows tablets, is working on a 12-inch device and a 7-inch version that can also make telephone calls, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans, who declined to be identified as the information is not yet public.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is racing to get more Windows-based tablets into stores, making up for delays that have made it harder to catch Apple, Google and Amazon.com Inc in a market projected by researcher NPD to almost double to US$123.5 billion in 2015.
Microsoft will end the year with a 2.9 percent share, compared with Apple’s majority and Google’s more than 40 percent, International Data Corp said.
HTC’s products, to debut next year, will be based on the Windows RT version of Microsoft’s operating system, designed for machines with chips using technology from ARM Holdings PLC, according to a person familiar with the plans. Delays in those machines, as well as another version running on Intel Corp’s chips, have meant Microsoft has few Windows devices capable of challenging Apple’s iPad.
A 7-inch tablet would be the first of that size for Windows RT, as Microsoft tries to compete with the iPad Mini, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7 in the market for smaller, cheaper tablets.
HTC spokeswoman Sally Julien and Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft spokesman Mark Martin declined to comment.
HTC’s tablets are tentatively scheduled for release in the third quarter and would run on chips from Qualcomm Inc, one person said, adding that production details and exact schedules have not been finalized.
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 — about US$1,000 — for the device, making it difficult to sell enough of them.
Microsoft’s own Intel-based Surface tablet with Windows 8, will cost US$899 or US$999, depending on the model, when it goes on sale next month.