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HTC to mark its return in the tablet category with Google Nexus 9?

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After disappointing sales of the Flyer tablet in 2011, HTC hasn’t made a tablet or nexus device. Google has now selected HTC to make its upcoming 9-inch Nexus tablet, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Google had been mulling HTC as a potential Nexus tablet partner since last year and HTC engineers have been flying to the Googleplex in Mountain View in recent months to work on the project, the report said. Google and HTC however declined to comment on whether they are collaborating on a Nexus tablet.

The choice may seem unusual, as HTC lacks a strong tablet track-record and focuses almost exclusively on smartphones. Google’s decision to pick HTC reflects the software giant’s long-standing philosophy of building a broad base of partners. Google likes to change its partners from device to device to avoid any one manufacturer gaining a monopoly, said a person familiar with the matter.

Google declined to comment on the reason it switches partners for Nexus devices, but said :

Android is a vibrant ecosystem, and many of the industry players are doing very well. There’s room for many partners to do well and to innovate with Android.

The Nexus 9 tablet will mark a revival of the Google-HTC partnership that produced the original Nexus One device. Earlier this month, a patent lawsuit filed by Nvidia against Qualcomm and Samsung mentioned that “the HTC Nexus 9, expected in the third quarter of 2014, is also expected to use the Tegra K1.” HTC  is reportedly holding a media event in October.

No further specs or details are known for sure just yet, but it’s reasonable to expect Google will unveil its new tablet alongside the full public release of the big Android L update. Announced at Google I/O in June and scheduled to be available in the fall, Android L marks a major visual design for Google’s mobile OS.

As for HTC, the Taiwanese company has been eager to gain a footing in new sectors as it loses ground in the smartphone market. The company’s executives have promised this year that they are working on fresh areas such as wearable devices.




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