Remember the HTC Shift, that 7-inch tablet computer with full QWERTY keyboard? It had 2 big problems – price and performance. The hardware just couldn’t keep up with Windows, it was expensive and I doubt the Taiwanese company managed to move enough units (whatever “enough” means). Now may be the time to re-think the Shift and launch it as an Android-powered device.
Think about it. We’ve already seen quite a few pretty similar tablet products. By the end of this year, we’ll be picking the brand and design — the hardware will be almost identical. I would expect that every major handset and computer maker offers both a 7 and 10-inch version of a tablet computer. At some point, all of them will run Honeycomb with eventually some branded UI on top of it. RIM and HP will have tablet products running their respective platforms.
I’m not sure a slightly changed UI is a good enough differentiator — it is said that HTC’s Sense UI stands apart from the competition — but smartphones made by LG, Samsung and Motorola are also selling well.
Plus, some of us could use a keyboard in addition to touchscreen. And I’m not talking about regular netbooks turned smartbooks – those suck, or at least I don’t see a point of such products. Rather, I’m talking about something lighter, something with a 7 perhaps 10-inch screen with useful keyboard, which could be semi-foldable if needed.
In fact, just making the thinner Android-powered version of the HTC Shift could be enough. Of course, the price should be reasonable, too.
Now that I’m thinking, this is something Nokia could do as well. If they and Intel want to impress the world with MeeGo, they better put it on some cool devices. Personally I would be interested in an HTC Shift-kind of tablet. What do you think? Would you grab such a device?