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HTC Source | August 22, 2014

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Can HTC challenge the Nexus 7 in the Android tablet space?

Can HTC challenge the Nexus 7 in the Android tablet space?

Android tablets are a dime a dozen these days, but it’s fair to say that most consumers never knew that HTC released a pair of tablets long before competition started driving down prices. When the HTC Flyer was released in 2011, it was the very first Android tablet to feature an active stylus which has since been popularized by Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones. Unfortunately for HTC, sales of the HTC Flyer never really took off. The device made its debut at $499 and customers were asked to pay an additional $80 for the digital stylus. After five month of abysmal sales, the price of the Flyer was reduced to $299, but consumers simply didn’t care.

Today’s tablet market is completely different. While the iPad is still considered to be the market leader, Google’s Nexus 7 was a massive hit in 2012 – quickly becoming one of the best-selling Android tablets on the market. While Samsung’s broad tablet approach focused on delivering a plethora of different sizes and features, the Nexus 7′s approach was to give consumers a reasonably spec’d device at the best possible price – $199. The other advantage that the Nexus 7 had was that it received Android updated directly from Google, giving consumers the opportunity to use the latest software features month before Samsung, Sony, Asus and other tablet makers pushed them out to their devices.

A little more than a year later, Google has now released a new Nexus 7 which delivers improved processing power, a slimmer and sleeker design and one of the world’s best displays. Technically, most of the components crammed inside the 2013 Nexus 7 still quality is as a mid-range device, but that’s because Google wanted to keep the price low. At $229, the new Nexus 7 is slightly more expensive than last year’s model, but it delivery extraordinary value.

So where would an HTC tablet fit in when Google has proven that consumer are interested in value more than a unique experience. The HTC One it the most unique Android phone on the market and is currently considered the best phone of 2013. Technically, the price of the 32GB HTC One sits around $600, but most people are able to purchase the phone for $199 when they sign a new contract. The rumored HTC One Max  is expected to feature a 5.9-inch display and would be closer in size to a Nexus 7 than most other Android phones, but the handset’s larger footprint will probably drive the price up, not down.

HTC has always taken pride in being a premium device manufacturer and consumers love HTC’s build quality. Unfortunately, that pride seems to get in the way of offering devices which may have mass market appeal. HTC could build a $199 tablet to compete head-to-head with the new Nexus 7, but it would need to make significant trade-offs. Premium construction materials like aluminum would be tossed internal hardware would be comparable to HTC’s flagship phones from Q4 of 2012. A $199 HTC tablet would be amazing, buy many consumers may still opt for Google’s Nexus offering since a pure Android experience on a tablet is even more enjoyable than it is on a smartphone.

Over the past year, HTC has iterated that they are still interested in the tablet market, but they are looking to produce the right device for consumers. It’s impossible to compete directly with Samsung since they have nearly a dozen different tablets on the market, but HTC may be able to deliver one unique device that can compete with the Nexus 7 on price and showcases the company’s commitment to quality and impeccable design.

About Nick Gray

Tech enthusiast, Android user and founder of the first HTC blog – Nick Gray has been blogging about HTC phones before most people knew what a smartphone even was. Over the years Nick has owned and tested dozens HTC devices and is constantly flashing new ROMs to his Android phones.

  • Zee

    Terrible Idea. They should concentrate on software development and support to keep there flagship phones upto date with the competition before rolling out other devices. You have to establish yourself before people will accept you fully as a company who is commited to supporting there products. That is why the Nexus line of products sell so well.

    • KemikalGeneral

      HaHa… Really?

      After all the innovation, new features and pushing the boundaries of devices as we know it… You’re going to rip them on updates?

      In addition, I would say that Nexus devices sell so well because they’re cheap and have the backing of Google.

      Don’t get me wrong though, we have 3 N7s in our house for the kids and they are great… For the money.

  • KemikalGeneral

    I would love a tablet from HTC!

    I started off with the Desire, then the Sensation, One X and now the One and a tablet would be the icing on the techno-cake especially if the 2 worked together.

    I agree though that as a ‘premium’ manufacturer they would have some hard choices/compromises to make to get the price down and I think people would see this as a step backwards, but unfortunately, that’s the trend they’ll have to follow to keep inline with the PICK (not necessarily the BEST) of the bunch.

    I feel sorry for HTC. They seem to be stuck in an awkward position whereas they make arguably the BEST phones from year to year but never seem to catch a lucky break. Then in contrast, there are OTHER manufacturers that consistently churn out the same crud and have a ridiculous following.

    As I see it, they easily have the potential to be one of, if not THE, best device manufacturer but circumstances seem to hinder them.

    Either way, thanks for my One, I would never have gotten the memories I have of my children had it not been for Zoe, truely amazing.

  • Kirk Winterrowd

    I would love to see a tablet from HTC but 7″ is to small for me. I sold my Nexus 7 to a friend last year because I didn’t use it as much as I did my iPad. Hoping for an 8-9″ one but if not then I think I will get the Galaxy Note 8.0.

  • Ivan

    I think HTC cannot challenge anyone anymore. It is slowly sliding down the hill. As you can notice the vendor that gets google generic phone is bound to get high sales on other phones, but once google breaks up with them they are doomed, and since HTC fails to update many headsets to lates Android OS it is clear they cannot withstand race. I have seen Samsung push updates on phones weaker than HTC has in it’s pallete of never update again phones. Few days ago I got 4.3 on my device, and I am still stuck on 4.0.3 with Evo3D. Just for test, I flashed Desire with 4.2 and it works FLAWLESS. So it is not hardware speed issue HTC use as excuse, but rather their interest in forcing buyers to get newer phones. Well it is working, I will get a new phone in a few months, but guess what – it won’t be HTC, it will be generic google phone.

  • Tonarheim

    I’m hoping for a premium tablet aspect ratio 16:10 or “squarer”. Expensive and awesome. And they should launch it focusing on their special would-be Sense tablet UI. After using sense 5 I’m sure they could make something like that very convincing.

    Competing with the iPad itself is the best idea imo.

  • Joe

    I would happily pay $600 for a 7″ HTC one tablet as long as it keeps all the features of my HTC one phone including beats audio, great build quality and high resolution. My nexus 7 is buggy as hell and I find myself using my HTC one phone more often than the nexus 7 even when watching videos. If they would build me a 7″ tablet with the same features and the same build quality as the HTC one I would be very happy and would pay the premium it deserves :-)

  • LvKB

    Flyer/HTC tablet as a platform for best UEX to Android would be great. Flyer was prototype of One. Things like email client/Sense better etc. 7″ Flyer2 would keep range narrow, Desire/One/Tablet, focus on quality. Obviously be better if Nexus premium was new Flyer to stretch the Android envelope at the quality end. Economics be better HTC I would imagine. As waiting for new Flyer, buying N7′s. Kind of explains market, willing buyers no HTC product. Get a move on, 4G all the trimmings tablet, 7″ Sense and lots of memory. Patient UK buyer awaits.