HTC Ups Ante on Microsoft (MSFT) Windows 8; Will Debut Two Tablets in FY13

December 21, 2012 10:18 AM EST
Apparently, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer can be very persuasive. And that may pay dividend for the company moving forward.

Earlier in the week, it was reported that Ballmer was making a pit-stop in Taiwan to visit OEM High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) and its CEO Peter Chou. Ballmer is looking to keep relations between the two fresh in order to have an ally on devices.

Well, today three are reports that HTC is planning to build not one, but two Windows 8-based tablet computers. HTC will manufacture two new sizes for the operating system: a 7-inch tablet, and "supersized" 12-inch device. The latter reinforces the commitment that HTC has, given that Chou scrapped plans for a larger-screen Windows Phone 8 smartphone this week citing resolution issues with the operating system.

The two new tablets will debut in 2013 (no timeline given) and will run Windows RT.

Microsoft snubbed HTC earlier in the year, excluding the device maker from the initial round of Windows 8 tablets.

So, it appears the Microsoft is getting its duck in a row with Windows 8 tablets. In addition to HTC, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) was also said to be working on a 10-inch tablet for release next year. Other devices will likely be coming from ASUStek, Acer, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), and Lenovo.

One area of concern for investors is Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC) Atom Z2760 chip, better known as "Clover Trail." We noted Thursday that some OEMs were having complications integrating the chip into upcoming tablets. This won't hurt HTC's plans as Clover Leaf will be used in Windows Pro tablets. But, it does put a damper on an early 2013 launch for the more powerful devices, which are really a portable PC more than a media tablet.

As mentioned, Clover Trail will extend battery life and excel at Connected Standby. Connected Standby allows that tablet to have a smartphone-like standby mode by staying up-to-date with email, news, weather, and more.

Shares of Microsoft are down 1.8 percent Friday. Since the announcement of its Surface tablet, Microsoft shares have dropped about 9 percent, as investors have questioned pricing and overall direction for Windows 8.

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