Update: HTC could announce surprise tablet
HTC is holding two simultaneous press events in New York and London today to announce the release of its One smartphone, but it has been reported that the event could also see the firm introduce a new tablet.
This rumor came largely from HTC posting a mysterious picture to its Instagram account, with the image showing a number of covered smartphones as well as one larger model, which could well be an 8-inch or 10-inch tablet.
Intrigue on this grew when Ubuntu developer Canonical started a countdown to the event under the tagline of ‘tick, tock, tablet time’ and then sent out invites to a media conference for later today. The conference is to discuss Ubuntu “on new form factors including some of the most rapidly growing consumer electronics device categories”.
This news would be something of a surprise coming from HTC, which having had a chequered history with the Flyer and Jetstream Android tablets decided on a temporary hiatus from the tablet market towards the end of last year. Reports since however have indicated that HTC does have plans to launch Windows 8 tablets in Q3.
Any such announcement would appear to tie-in with Canonical’s roadmap. The firm has previously said that tablet support would come to Ubuntu on version 14.04 in April 2014, with founder Mark Shuttleworth even hinting at on-going work back in 2011.
“There’s a very high level of demand for a tablet alternative right now, and we know it’s going to take a bit of time to get it right”, said Shuttleworth in October 2011.
Further adding to the likelihood of a tablet version of the Linux-driven Ubuntu, Canonical announced Ubuntu Mobile, an operating system for smartphones at the turn of the year. The OS supports Intel x86 processors and ARM chips and is expected to feature on the first phones from early 2014.
Update: As it transpired, there was not a tablet in attendance at the unveiling of the HTC One smartphone in New York today. With the firm skipping Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year, we'll have to wait and find out if it still has ambitions in the tablet market.