HTC "Dedicated" to Tablet Market, Plans to Make More

Despite the troubles other companies have had in the tablet market -- and the firm's own steep tablet discounts -- HTC said it remains committed to building and selling tablets for the long haul.

"We're dedicated to the tablet space," said Jeff Gordon, the company's global online communications manager. "We are planning more tablets in the future."

Gordon's comments come on the heels of HTC's decision to reduce the price of its 7-inch, Wi-Fi-only tablet, the Flyer, from $499 to $299 at retailer Best Buy. Gordon said the price reduction created a lot of "excitement" among tablet shoppers. (Gordon declined to provide HTC's tablet sales figures.)

HTC sells three Android tablets in the United States: the Flyer, the Evo View 4G for Sprint Nextel (NYS: S) (which is similar to the Flyer but includes WiMAX), and the 10-inch, LTE-capable Jetstream through AT&T (NYS: T) Mobility. The Jetstream runs Android 3.1; the Flyer and the Evo View 4G run Android 2.3, but HTC plans to at some point upgrade them to the Honeycomb version of Android.

"We're in this for the long term," Gordon said of the tablet market.

Interestingly, Gordon said HTC recently released a software developer kit for the pen input system on its Flyer tablet. Gordon said the release of the SDK for a stylus-capable tablet indicates the company plans to make additional tablets that support a pen. The addition of a stylus to HTC's initial Flyer tablet drew criticisms from some reviewers who argued against the need for a stylus with a tablet.

HTC's position on tablets is notable considering the troubles that other tablet vendors have had. Hewlett-Packard recently announced it would discontinue building smartphones and tablets, and drastically reduced the price of its TouchPad tablet in order to clear out inventory. Separately, PlayBook maker Research In Motion (NAS: RIMM) reported it shipped only 200,000 tablets in the second quarter, way down from the 500,000 it shipped in the previous quarter. After RIM's second-quarter report, rumors surfaced that RIM would discontinue building the PlayBook, but the company quickly denied it would do so.

While some tablet vendors have faced declining sales, market leader Apple (NAS: AAPL) appears to remain on the upswing. The company reported selling 9.25 million iPad tablets in its most recent quarter. Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) also appears to be doing relatively well -- the company shipped 440,000 Xoom tablets in the second quarter, up from 250,000 in the first quarter.

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