HTC Flyer: HTC’s 7-inch tablet

HTC has finally joined the tablet race with the HTC Flyer, a 7-inch Android tablet that comes with a stylus.

The new tablet has been launched amongst five other smartphones at the company’s press conference in Barcelona on Tuesday.

The new 7-inch model will come with a resolution of 1024 x 600 and will sport a uni-body design, feature a new version of HTC Sense optimised for tablets and a stack of other features both software and hardware - the most surprising of which is a companion stylus for drawing on the screen.

The stylus will automatically connect to the tablet offering finer control over writing or drawing rather than being needed for navigation, HTC tells us, trying to allay fears that we’ve gone back in time to 2003 and Windows Mobile.

Defending the reason for going smaller, while it’s competition (Motorola, Samsung, and LG) are all going larger Drew Bamford, HTC’s Director of customer experience told Pocket-lint that HTC feels that the “larger tablet is suited for around the house” and that HTC wanted to concentrate on something more “mobile.”

Powered by a 1.5GHz single-core Qualcomm chip the device will initially run Android 2.4 instead of Honeycomb, although HTC has promised that it is already working on bringing the new tablet-optimised operating system to the new device. 

However those looking for the untouched Honeycomb experience found on the Motorola Xoom or LG Optimus Pad will be disappointed as the Flyer will have HTC Sense with no option to turn it off.

“We spent a lot of time developing for Sense and it's a shame to waste that,” Bamford told us. “The majority of people who buy HTC want the Sense.”

Peter Chou told the packed venue in Barcelona that HTC weren't interested in rushing out a "me too" device. On demonstrating the HTC Flyer, a ripple of applause spontaneously broke out.

The Flyer will come in two options: with and without HSDPA (3G) connectivity, however a HTC Flyer Wi-Fi only version isn’t going to be available at launch the company has told us.

Likewise those looking to double this up as your phone, bad luck. The voice element to the 3G connectivity won’t work, although you will be able to use the in-built mic to make VoIP calls over services like Skype.

So how much? While HTC say they have yet to put a price on the Flyer, they have told us that it’s not going to be cheap with a “High-end price” to justify all the beautiful looking hardware, the stylus and the free case in the box.

Also new is that the Flyer will have two dedicated apps that play on the company’s new aquistions and investments in recent times.

Film fans will now be able to access the latest movies via a new app called Watch thanks to HTC’s recent investment in Saffron Digital. The company describes itself as a global mobile delivery platform company, whose products and services are live in 26 countries and 14 languages.

It means you’ll be able to stream movies directly to the device.

Gamers will be serviced by OnLive, which will stream games to the device and support DLNA to a TV, although HTC warns that neither are free with both subject to fees. Steve Perlman took to the stage to demonstrate the OnLive service on the Flyer, Virtua Tennis was the game of choice, with on-screen controls, and demoed how easy is was to make brag clips for sharing.

The OnLive wireless controller was also demoed via video, showing off the console-like controller working with the HTC Evo and HTC Flyer.

There will also be a range of accessories, a pouch with in-build stand, desktop dock, Bluetooth keyboard.

If that hasn’t put you off, then you’ll be able to snap one up when they become available in early Q2, which should mean April. 

Check out how the HTC Flyer compares to the iPad



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