HTC 'looking closely' at lower-end tablet market

05/14/2015 09:15 PM
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Taipei, May 14 (CNA) HTC Corp. (宏達電) said on Thursday it is "looking closely" at the mid-tier and entry-level tablet computer markets to see if the Taiwanese handset maker can cash in on the cut-throat sector with its own-branded tablet lineup.

"There is less room for product differentiation and a fierce price war, so we must be very cautious about running that business. We will see if we can get better returns on smartphones or other businesses. But we are looking closely at it," said Jack Tong (董俊良), president of HTC North Asia.

He was speaking to CNA at the Taiwan launch of the company's One M9+ flagship smartphone, and gave the comment when asked if HTC will consider launching mid-to-low end tablets under its brand name.

Tong's comment came at a time when online rumors on Wednesday suggested that HTC plans to unveil a low-end tablet dubbed "H7" that will be released in the second quarter of 2015. However, there was no mention of the device's pricing or hardware specifications.

It was only about half a year ago in November 2014 that Tong said HTC will not produce ultra-low-cost tablets of less than NT$5,000 (US$164) under its brand name due to concerns about thin profit margins.

Back then he was speaking at the Taiwan launch of the high-end Nexus 9 -- the world's first tablet running on Google Inc.'s Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. The 8.9-inch Nexus tablet, co-branded with Google, marked HTC's return to the tablet market after a three-year absence.

In October last year, HTC CFO Chang Chia-lin told an earnings conference call that HTC plans to launch its own-branded tablets in 2015, but he did not give a timetable.

Chang also said that HTC will consider other co-branding opportunities in which potential partners can be expected to help increase HTC's long-term growth potential and brand equity.

(By Jeffrey Wu)ENDITEM/cs

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