HTC Announces its First Tablet, the Flyer. Runs Android 2.4 Gingerbread

We just got a flood of information all at once about HTC’s newly announced devices at Mobile World Congress, and it’s going to be a great ride. First up is the long-expected HTC Flyer, the company’s first foray into the tablet market; it’s a 7-inch Android tablet, but isn’t running Honeycomb like all the other kids on the block. Rather, it’s running 2.4 Gingerbread with a tablet-optimized version of HTC Sense. I must say, I did not expect that coming.

Here’s a full listing of the specs:

  • 1.5 GHz single-core CPU with 1 GB RAM
  • 7-inch TFT display with 1024 x 600 resolution
  • HSPA+ with 14.4 Mbps top speeds
  • 32 GB Flash storage
  • Unibody aluminum construction
  • Pressure-sensitive capacitive stylus
  • 5 MP rear camera, 1.3 MP front
  • 4000 mAh battery (four hours continuous video playback)
  • Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP
  • Dimensions: 195.4 x 122 x 13.2 mm
  • Weighs 415g
  • MicroSD expansion
  • OnLive cloud gaming

Wow, where do we start? A lot of interesting design choices will certainly make the HTC Flyer the “odd man out” in the group of Android tablets, and while it doesn’t mesh with all of its direct competitors, being different in a sea of tablets that look and feel exactly the same may not be such a bad thing.

We’re intrigued by the introduction of a pressure-sensitive stylus that enables the HTC Scribe technology: it’s a “groundbreaking pen experience”. This makes it easy to take notes, sign contracts, draw pictures, or write on a website or picture. So it sounds as though we don’t have to rely heavily on the stylus as if we were running an old Windows Mobile device, rather the stylus is there to enhance certain aspects of the tablet experience that we otherwise wouldn’t enjoy on a Motorola Xoom or LG Optimus Pad.

As for the inclusion of Gingerbread, HTC says it’s because it didn’t have enough time with Honeycomb’s code to push it to market quickly enough (read: they couldn’t integrate Sense into Honeycomb fast enough, and they were falling behind in the tablet competition). Plus, HTC thinks very highly of its Sense UI and feels that a tablet-optimized version of Sense will accomplish everything Honeycomb could.

The HTC Flyer will be available globally during Q2 2011. No carriers or pricing have been announced yet. We will have a full hands-on shortly!

Full Press Release

HTC UNVEILS HTC FLYER™, THE FIRST TABLET WITH HTC SENSE™

Aluminum unibody design with touch and pen interaction make HTC Flyer unique

First tablet with HTC Watch™ video service, HTC Scribe™ Technology and OnLive® cloud gaming

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.

“Clearly, smartphones have transformed our lives but as we observed how people use smartphones, computers and other technologies, we saw an opportunity to create a tablet experience that is different, more personal and productive,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “We are progressing down a path as an industry when people will no longer be in a single device paradigm, but have multiple wireless devices for different needs; this is the direction we are moving.”

Encased in a sleek aluminum unibody, the HTC Flyer tablet exudes the iconic style and build quality HTC is known for. It is also ultra-light, weighing as little as a paperback book, and compact enough to fit in a jacket pocket only. With a seven-inch display, lightning fast 1.5Ghz processor and high-speed HSPA+ wireless capabilities, the HTC Flyer tablet is perfect for those who have been waiting for a tablet that is both compact and powerful.

HTC Sense for Tablet
HTC Sense revolutionized smartphones by placing the person at the center of the experience. HTC Flyer’s tablet-focused HTC Sense experience focuses on surprising and delighting people with its gorgeous 3D home screen. A unique carousel of widgets puts a user’s most important content and information at the visual center of the experience. The HTC Flyer tablet also offers uncompromised Web browsing with Flash 10 and HTML 5.

HTC Scribe Technology
Touch interaction lights up the HTC Flyer tablet experience, but it also offers a groundbreaking pen experience. With the new HTC Scribe Technology on the HTC Flyer tablet, people can rediscover the natural act of writing. HTC Scribe Technology introduces a wave of integrated digital ink innovations that make it easy and natural to take notes, sign contracts, draw pictures, or even write on a web page or photo.

HTC Scribe Technology on the HTC Flyer tablet transforms traditional note-taking into smart note-taking by integrating natural onscreen writing with thoughtful and integrated innovations. A feature called Timemark enables you to capture the audio of a meeting in line with your written notes, so tapping on a word in your notes instantly takes you to that exact place in time in the audio recording of the meeting. Notes are also integrated with the calendar so when there is an appointment reminder you are automatically prompted with an opportunity to begin a new note or in the case of recurring meetings, to continue where the last meeting left off. In an industry first, the HTC Flyer tablet also features built-in synchronization with Evernote™, the world-leading notes application and service.

Streaming Mobile Movies with HTC Watch
The HTC Flyer tablet premieres HTC Watch, HTC’s new video download service. The HTC Watch service enables low-cost on-demand progressive downloading of hundreds of High-Definition movies from major studios. The intuitive, natural design of the HTC Watch service makes it easy to find the latest movie and video content, while advanced technology on the back-end enables instant playback over the HTC Flyer tablet’s high-speed wireless connection.

Mobile Cloud Gaming with OnLive
HTC takes mobile gaming to an entirely new level by being the first mobile device in the world to integrate OnLive Inc.’s revolutionary cloud-based gaming service. OnLive is leading in the home gaming market by letting people play top video games on their televisions and computers without the need to buy expensive gaming hardware or software. When integrated fully, the OnLive service will enable customers to pipe the OnLive service through the HTC Flyer tablet’s broadband wireless to their television sets, or let them play directly on the tablet. When integrated on the HTC Flyer tablet, people can play a variety of games, including hits like Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood™, NBA 2K11 and Lego Harry Potter™.

Availability
HTC Flyer will be available to customers globally during Q2 2011.

Author: Brad Molen

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