The tablet market has changed considerably over the past 12 months, with the Apple iPad still going great guns but a second successful niche having emerged at a much lower price point, as represented by the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7.
So what does that leave for everyone else? Very little, ultimately – a realisation HTC has clearly arrived at all on its own, having now decided to pull out of the US tablet market altogether.
It's only the US for now, and HTC's higher profile this side of the Atlantic means things are probably less marginal here – for the time being, anyway.
Discussing the decision, an HTC spokesperson delivered an impressive early attempt at revising history: “HTC is pleased with the results of our first foray into tablets – the HTC Flyer, EVO View 4G, and HTC Jetstream – and like any products in the mobile space that were released some time ago, our tablets have run through their planned lifecycles.”
The problem is that soundbite stops half a sentence short of delivering what we suspect would be the real bottom line on why HTC is stepping back from tablets: “and we only sold 12 of them”.
Well, maybe not 12, but still, with both the premium and budget ends of the tablet market so ably covered right now, and by devices that offer far more than simply a piece of OEM hardware running an OS fully available to others, which is what HTC brings to the table.
And for HTC, read many other Android OEMs currently sitting on the fringes of the tablet market, offering – frankly – very little. The tablet bubble seems to have popped, and outside of a handful of key contenders it's looking very bleak indeed for the rest.