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Does HTC Have a Pair of Windows RT Tablets Up Its Sleeve?

Microsoft's traditional PC partners aren't exactly flooding the shelves with Windows tablets, but it looks as though a chance for salvation could lie in the hands of more mobile-centric manufacturers. Just days after rumor of a Nokia-made Windows RT tablet surfaced, Bloomberg is reporting that HTC has a pair of additional Windows RT tablets in the works.

Both a 7-inch and a 12-inch tablet are planned, "people familiar with the matter" told Bloomberg, though the smaller version is the more intriguing for a couple of different reasons. First is its size alone: All current Windows tablets are at least 10 inches, and a 7-inch tablet would give Microsoft a product that competes against the Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, and iPad mini—depending, of course, on its price tag. More interesting are the whispers that the 7-inch slate could send and receive voice calls, which would make it a tablet-first "phablet" big enough to put the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II to shame.

The slates will reportedly run on Qualcomm processors. HTC is said to have considered introducing a tablet with a more traditional x86-based processor, but scrapped the idea because the end cost would have been too high to hit mass market potential.

Earlier this year, HTC Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera told The Verge that the company is indeed interested in relaunching its tablet initiatives, saying that the company has already tested (and canceled) several concept models since the Android-based Jetstream and Flyer tablets were released in 2011. Earlier this year, alleged specs of an HTC Flyer 2 tablet surfaced, though we haven't heard anything about it since. Since then HTC has redoubled its Windows Phone efforts -- and improved its relationship with Microsoft, no doubt -- with the launch of the HTC 8X and 8S.

Even if the Windows tablet report is true, however, Bloomberg's sources say the tablets aren't due to hit the streets until the third quarter of next year.