HTC has been pumping out new smartphones left and right (check out our hands-on time with the just-announced Titan II) but we haven’t really heard a peep about any of its tablet plans. During a meeting with IntoMobile at CES 2012, HTC told us that the company its strategy in the tablet market in order to produce devices which really deliver on that HTC experience.
HTC clearly said the Flyer and the Jetstream had lived up to its expectations but the overall numbers have shown that tablet buyers are gravitating toward the iPad. Last year seemed to be the year where there was an “iPad killer” coming out every other month but the Xoom, TouchPad, PlayBook and HTC’s tablets failed to gain traction in a major way.
“What we’ve learned is that we need to differentiate,” said HTC’s online global communications manager, Jeff Gordon, regarding tablets. “We’re really trying to rethink how we approach tablets … we’re not just trying to be another voice in the noise.”
What that means is a continued investment in the Sense UI and some of HTC’s services like Watch, Beats or OnLive. The OnLive service, in particular, seems to be a great way for future HTC tablets to stand out because these are now delivering full, console-like gameplay. Of course, it’s also available on the iPad and other Android tablets, so HTC would have to do something unique.
I have updated my Flyer to Honeycomb recently and was struck by how muted this version of Sense seemed compared to the one which launched on the tablet. With things like the Holo requirement, will the underlying platform make it more difficult for HTC to bring its Sense experience?
Not a chance, Gordon said. In fact, he said that he had an Ice Cream Sandwich HTC phone in his pocket and it was running well and HTC felt like it delivered a Sense experience just fine. No, he didn’t let me see it.
Another way HTC may stand out from the crowd is by producing a tablet which also has best-in-class specs. Gordon said that there’s always a balancing act in terms of costs and optimization but HTC is not afraid to try out the latest and greatest in mobile.
“HTC has always bet real big on the latest bleeding edge technology,” Gordon said.