updated 03:40 am EST, Tue February 15, 2011
HTC Flyer arrives at MWC
HTC this morning kicked off the launch of a slew of new hardware headlined by its first tablet in years. The Flyer revolves around an uncharacteristically fast 1.5GHz processor and a seven-inch, 1024x600 display. It's also the first known device to be shipping with Android 2.4, a new but relatively mild upgrade to Gingerbread (2.3); Google didn't give it enough time with Android 3.0, HTC said.
In an unusual turn, the Flyer is coming bundled with a capacitive stylus for those that want handwriting, though it won't be as necessary as on earlier HTC slates.
A new version of the Sense UI is onboard optimized for the larger screen and comes along with bundled apps. HTC is making use of its OnLive deal to provide the streaming gaming service for those on the road. Saffron Digital is providing HTC Watch, an online video download and streaming store.
The tablet has the same aluminum unibody frame as the Legend or Apple's iPad and is equipped to be up to date with modern tablets, including a five-megapixel back camera, a 1.3-megapixel camera at the front and a microSDHC slot for expansion. Battery life may be atypically low, though, at just four hours of non-stop video on the 4,000mAh pack. HTC hasn't given out web browsing estimates.
The Flyer should ship worldwide during the spring. OnLive's presence makes a North American launch probable, but no carriers have been named so far.
Reentering tablets is a significant turnaround for HTC. It was once one of the more enthusiastic Windows tablet supporters and had crossover devices like the Windows Vista-based Shift and the Windows Mobile-using Advantage, but their high prices and slow sales led to a quick exit. The iPhone in part hastened their departure as it shifted the entire touchscreen market away from styluses and full PC features to finger touch and mobile.