HTC HTC had a plan to introduce a 12-inch Windows RT tablet, but eventually decided not to launch it, fearing weak demand. Photo: Reuters

HTC has decided to call off its launch of a 12-inch tablet running Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system, fearing weak demand, a report says.

The Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones and tablets scrapped the plan because it could not justify the cost of manufacturing a full-sized tablet at a time when demand for Windows RT-running devices is waning, Bloomberg reported.

Ever since the OS was introduced, alongside Windows 8 in October 2012, it has struggled to gain a foothold with IDC estimating that Microsoft sold only 200,000 Windows RT tablets in the first quarter of 2013.

Although HTC has pulled the plug on the 12-inch tablet, the company is working on a 7-inch tablet running Windows RT, a variant of Windows 8, suitable for chips that are based on ARM’s technology. The company believes that a smaller tablet will cost less to produce and will likely be more popular among consumers.

HTC is expected to release the 7-inch RT tablet around September or October, but neither HTC nor Microsoft would confirm the time. In addition to the smaller Windows RT tablet, HTC is also rumored to release a similar 7-inch tablet based on Google’s Android OS around the same time.

HTC’s change of focus to smaller tablets seems relevant as the tablet market is apparently going through a transition period in terms of preference for smaller screens.

The market share for tablets with screens smaller than 8 inches shot up to 55 percent in 2013 from 27 percent in 2011. At the same time, larger tablets with screen sizes ranging between 8 inches and 11 inches lost market share, falling to 43 percent in 2013 from 73 percent in 2011, according to a new report from IDC.