HTC is prepping its first Honeycomb tab for release. Previous rumors placed the Puccini hitting the shelves sometime at the end of August or early September. That seems slightly more likely according a new report that states “late Q3 or early Q4.” But the question remains, does the market need another Honeycomb tablet, even one as powerful as the Puccini, when Ice Cream Sandwich is right around the corner?
Tablets do not seem to be a priority at HTC and for good reason: no one is buying Android tablets. Earlier this year, the company launched its first tablet, the Android 2.2 HTC Flyer, when other companies where launching Honeycomb tabs. The Flyer is a fun piece, a $499 7-inch Android 2.x tablet with optional $80 stylus. The high price and cheap component list seemed to state that the Flyer is a high-margin, low-volume product for HTC, one likely designed to test the water without forcing HTC to dive headfirst. The Puccini might be more of the same.
The Puccini isn’t official yet, nor has HTC teased any info about the tablet. However, several leaks state that the 10-incher is packing a 1.5GHz CPU and of a Snapdragon dual-core pedigree. It’s to have 2GB of RAM, active digitizer stylus, dual cams including a rear-facing 8MP camera, and, if other rumors are to be believed, an AT&T LTE radio. Chances are it will follow the “me too” pricing scheme and hit the market at $499 to compete with the iPad. It’s just too bad that the iPad isn’t the Puccini’s competition but rather other Honeycomb tabs and soon, Ice Cream Sandwich tablets.
Honeycomb is a world of ruined fairy tales right now. The stock OS and apps are fine, but there are just a handful of usable apps even now, six months after the OS launched. Ice Cream Sandwich promises to right this wrong by being a unified Android experience for the end-user and developer. And so, it’s rather curious why HTC is pushing its first Android 3.x tab to retail at the end of Honeycomb’s life cycle. The OS is reportedly scheduled to launch in Q4 of 2011, or rather, just after the Puccini hits the market.
The only likely conclusion to this aforementioned quandary is that, yes, tablets are not a priority for HTC. Market timing and placement is a paramount to a product’s success and the Puccini is going to be set up to fail.