Should HTC get back into the tablet race?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| July 13, 2012

Does it seem like manufacturers have slowed down on tablets? It seems like just last year when we were seeing all sorts of tablets finding their way into the market. It was even worse in 2010. They were all over the place. And, speaking truthfully, only about half of them were worth even giving a second glance at. Maybe not even that many. As Taylor Martin put it yesterday, he would only suggest three tablets to anyone, and they’re all manufactured by the same company. That speaks volumes to me, because companies like Samsung have put quite a large effort into the tablet market.

But that doesn’t count for much if someone like Taylor, who is literally addicted to tablets, would truthfully only recommend one manufacturer above all others. And no, Taylor isn’t a fanboy, either. He just knows a good tablet when he sees one.

But as we’ve discussed in the past, when buying a tablet it comes down to certain parameters, one of which is size. It’s been several months since we’ve seen HTC release a tablet, but that drought could be coming to an end later this year if rumors of the Vertex are to be believed.

For those of you who missed it, yesterday saw the benchmarking of a previously unannounced tablet device called the Vertex. Manufactured by HTC, this new tablet is reportedly featuring a display with a 1280x800 resolution, Android 4.0.3 (really?) running the show, and a 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor under the hood. The NenaMark benchmark didn’t reveal much more than that.

While there’s not a lot to go on, it does give us a small hint as to the direction HTC is headed with this newest tablet. They aren’t obviously aiming for just another device to fill the ranks. With the quad-core processor and high-end display, HTC will hopefully position this tablet to be more noteworthy than its previously released devices. If it launches as-is, though, I can’t help but think Android 4.0.3 just isn’t what people will be looking for later this year on a tablet (or any new Android devices released around that time, really).

If HTC really is ready to get back into the tablet market, then they need to make sure that pretty much every aspect of their first device back into the fray grabs people’s attention. They’ll have to keep in mind that if they do launch at the end of the year, then there’s already going to be talk powering the rumor mill about Apple’s next entry into the iPad family. They will also have to try their hardest to get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean pre-loaded on the device.

That last part is probably the biggest thing that HTC needs to focus on. It isn’t surprising that the device is getting tested right now, and it isn’t shocking that it’s running a previous version of Android. However, before now and launch the Taiwanese company better figure out how to get Android 4.1 on the tablet, or I think it just won’t have enough appeal to the general consumer.

Personally, I think HTC needs to go somewhere between the 7-inch and 10.1-inch model design. With the company’s Scribe technology, they could go anywhere in that size range and make the tablet an effective content creation device, while also being able to focus on content consumption. HTC needs to make a tablet that promotes both creation and consumption, better than Apple can with their tablet.

I was a fan of the Flyer tablet because of the Scribe technology. Portable and able to take notes when I wanted, the Flyer was indeed a unique device in its own right. That’s what HTC needs to aim for again with their new tablet. Something that makes it unique against all the other tablets out there. It can’t just be another device to stock electronic store’s shelves. People need to be talking about it, whether that’s due to curiosity, a purchase, or comparing it to rival companies, just get people talking about it.

But don’t make people talk about it because it’s too expensive, and not worth it.

HTC, your goal with this new tablet is to make people like Taylor Martin, the people who are truly infatuated with tablets as a whole, to recommend your new device. Once you can do that, then you can grab the attention of the general consumer even more easily, and then you’ll see your tablets coming off the shelves. Make it unique, high-end, with a price that doesn’t prevent sales right out of the gate. Play to your strengths (like the new Sense and a new Scribe), but don’t be afraid to take some risks, too.

Do you think HTC can make an impact within the tablet market? Is the company ready to go up against Apple again? Or even other Android tablet manufacturers like ASUS? Or should HTC keep a focus on their smartphones, and leave the tablet market altogether? Let me know what you think!