HTC Flyer: Hands-on
The HTC Flyer picks up on HTC's now-familiar unibody design. That means the body is machined and formed from a single piece and then all assembled. The result, as we've seen on phones like the HTC Legend or HTC Desire HD, is a stunning smooth body that feels fantastic in the hands.
HTC were being very protective of their new tablet, restricting access to the new device at the press launch. Fortunately we'd had the chance to get our hands on the hardware prior to the event. We've not had the chance to explore the interface in any detail yet, aside from the demos being shown.
To get over the problem of grip, HTC has added two white plastic grips that offer you some purchase and we found it felt natural in the hand. We've seen several 7-inch tablets and this really does compete with the best.
The 7-inch 1024 x 600 screen offers up HTC Sense, now customised for use on a tablet. Than means it works in landscape much more naturally making much better use of the screen space on offer. We'll be looking at this in more detail when we get more time with the Flyer, because OS and interface is partly where HTC stand-out from some of its rivals.
The HTC Flyer is very much a HTC Sense tablet. As such, you won't find it launching on Honeycomb. We got the impression that timing was as much of an issue here as anything else. With HTC having designed the interface to work with Gingerbread, they didn't want to make the last minute change to bring it to Honeycomb. That might be the case, or it might be that Google are insisting on getting some pure Honeycomb devices out of the door before it gets customised.
Another feature of the HTC Flyer is Bluetooth 3 suggesting that HTC sees you wireless transferring data to your device when you want to add some content.
The stylus is something of a strange addition, it is certainly a rarity amongst the recent run of Android tablets, but we found the interface ran perfectly without it. It does add some cool features, however, and a new Timemark application will let you write and record audio at the same time on the device, and keep the two in sync - great for anyone scribbling notes in a busy meeting or lecture (or press conference, ahem).
It measures 195.4 x 122 x 13.2mm and weighs 415g, which is pretty light, making this a relatively portable machine.
It looks slick, it seems a considered approach to a tablet device rather than just another large phone. As such, we've no doubt that there will be plenty of enthusiasm about the Flyer. Addressing the content issues from the start, the OnLive gaming and Watch movies look like they complete some of the picture missing from rival devices, but we haven't had the chance to really play with any of this content to examine pricing, quality or anything else.
There is still plenty more to discover about the Flyer, but so far it looks pretty exciting.