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Remember when Microsoft barred HTC from participating in the first round of Windows 8 tablets? Well it looks like HTC is ready for round two.
HTC plans to release both 7- and 12-inch Windows RT tablets in the third quarter of next year, anonymous sources told Bloomberg. The news is a big turnaround for HTC, which has so far been locked out of the increasingly popular Windows tablet market because it doesn’t sell enough devices.
While a 7-inch tablet would be a big first for Windows RT, HTC isn’t new to that particular game. Last year, it announced the HTC Flyer, a stylus-equipped Android slate that attracted a lot of initial attention but not too many buyers. HTC discontinued the device last December — just seven months after it was released.
That may sound like it spells doom for HTC’s Windows RT efforts, but it’s also very likely that HTC learned from its mistakes on Android and will fix them the second time around. With a 7-inch tablet, Microsoft could have an extremely valuable weapon against devices like the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, and iPad mini — all of which threaten to consume significant parts of the tablet market.
Of course, the HTC rumors don’t preclude the possibility that Microsoft is working on a 7-inch Windows RT tablet of its own. With Steve Ballmer constantly hinting at more Windows hardware, that possibility is looking more likely by the day.