HTC has given up on the US tablet race, at least for now, and
is no longer actively selling products like the Flyer and
JetStream there. Nor will it launch a new tablet for the
holiday season in the world’s largest tablet market.
Taiwan-based HTC has suffered a year of offering highly
specified, but sometimes overpriced, devices, and despite
strong reviews, struggling to gain market share from Apple and
Samsung. In tablets, it has made only a very tiny impact on
the iPad, Galaxy Tab and Kindle Fire, and now the company has
apparently decided the battle is too tough to be worthwhile.
However, it insists it continues to monitor the situation and
may re-enter the sector if it has the confidence that it could
“make a splash.”
From 2010 to 2012, HTC has launched three tablets in the US –
the Flyer, the EVO View 4G for Sprint’s CDMA/WiMAX service and
the LTE JetStream for AT&T. Expectations were pretty low and
HTC admits it needs to do something more radical to draw
attention from the iPad — or perhaps shift to the low end and
go up against the Google Nexus 7 or the Fire.
That approach, where prices are $199 or less, would be in
direct contrast to its previous strategy of positioning its
tablets as premium offerings. The JetStream launched at $700
and the Wi-Fi only Flyer was $299.
HTC is not the first to backpedal on tablets:
– HP axed its WebOS TouchPad earlier this year.
– LG put tablet development on hold in order to focus on
– RIM has struggled with PlayBook.
As in smartphones, the tablet segment is becoming concentrated
in the hands of a few, though the names are not the same as in
smartphones. While Apple and Samsung are still the big guns,
several other vendors have chosen to enter the mobile gadget
space by launching a tablet instead of (or at least ahead of)
a phone — notably Amazon and, soon, Microsoft. And while these
firms are likely to be testing their device credentials before
moving into the handset minefield, Google has gained far
greater sales share with its Nexus 7 slate than it has
achieved in phones.