"BARCELONA, SPAIN - Mobile World Congress - February 15, 2011 - HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced its first tablet, the HTC FlyerTM. HTC Flyer blends HTC's trademark design language with an all-new HTC Sense user experience that has been reimagined for the tablets. Using an intuitive and innovative approach to tablets, HTC Flyer combines natural touch and pen interaction. HTC also announced HTC Watch, a new connected video service that will debut on HTC Flyer tablet, and will collaborate with OnLive, Inc. to launch the first cloud-based mobile gaming service on a tablet."
I've been watching the Android tablet market carefully, looking at every new tablet coming out, and have been pretty underwhelmed by many of them. Some of them, like the Motorola Xoom, have impressive hardware - yet the software leaves much to be desired. I'm not an expert on Android so it's hard for me to say what's stock Android and what's not, but much of what I've seen is summed up by the word "Meh". It just doesn't seem to have much style.
The HTC Flyer, however, has caught my attention in a big way: as an HD2 owner (the phone is now retired) I'm very familiar with HTC Sense and the overall design language and functionality of their software has impressed me for the most part. Sure, some of it is silly fluff that does nothing but use CPU cycles and battery life, but I for one like a good UI as long as it doesn't feel slow. With a 1.5 Ghz single-core CPU, the HTC Flyer should be anything but slow. The 7 inch capacitive screen offers a 1024 x 600 resolution, and is pressure sensitive, which allows HTC to bring something interesting to the table that I haven't seen elsewhere yet on an Android tablet: a stylus. Engadget has more details on that, but suffice it to say that I think it brings a unique advantage to the table. It also synchronizes with Evernote right out of the box, which is killer if you're an Evernote user.
Rounding out the hardware spec is HSPA+ wireless (I have to assume WiFi is in there as well), 1 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage (with expansion via microSD), a 5 megapixel rear camera, and a 1.3 megapixel front camera. It's said to weigh "as little as a paperback book", and the 4000 mAH battery will allow for up to four hours of video playback. Four hours doesn't sound very impressive to me - Engadget says the Samsung Galaxy Tab does just over six hours of video playback with the same sized 4000 mAH battery.
No word on pricing, but it will be available globally in Q2 2011 - I suspect that means there won't be a WiFi-only version initially, and it will be sold via carrier partners with data contracts. What that probably means is that it won't be able to compete with the WiFi only $499 iPad - which is a real lost opportunity in my opinion.
Oh, did I mention it can't make calls either? For some that may be a deal-breaker, though I personally don't think it would matter to me - that's what I have a cell phone for, and it's not like I'd leave the house with my HTC Flyer and not my cell phone. Frankly, I think a bigger problem is where do you put that stylus when you're not using it? It looks too big to be stored inside the device - and if it's not kept inside the device, it's something that might get lost easily.
The remainder of the press release, along with more images, after the break. Read more...