HTC South Africa's Quinton Leigh has reportedly slipped word that the company is developing a high-end Android tablet. The device, which could alternately be a very high-end smartphone, would have 1080p video recording and would even use a new Yamaha chipset to output 5.1-channel surround sound. Leigh also implied that there would be 3G access built-in as it might not be suitable for the high prices of South African cell data.
The executive didn't say to PhoneReport when the unconfirmed tablet would be ready but did put out a timeline for smartphones to get many of the same upgrades. Full 1080p movie recording could reach HTC smartphones by spring 2011, he said, while phones with 14.4Mbps HSPA+ could arrive as soon as this summer.
While still rumor, the move could reflect an attempt by HTC to get back into tablet-like devices after two years or more of absence. It last had significant entries with Windows Mobile UMPCs like the Advantage and Shift, neither of which sold in significant numbers due both to very high pricing as well as the limited utility of Windows Mobile on a large device. The iPad is suspected of putting pressure on HTC as it risks losing a category it once championed.