HTC Flyer

HTC announced the Flyer at MWC last month but I didn't get to spend any real time with a functional device in Barcelona, so when given the opportunity to at CTIA I gladly took HTC up on the offer.

The Flyer isn't your typical 2011 Android tablet - for starters it isn't sporting Honeycomb. Remember that NVIDIA was Google's chosen SoC partner on Honeycomb, and as a result all other SoC vendors got a later start to porting Honeycomb to their platforms. Qualcomm falls into the latter group and as a result, even tablets that use Qualcomm hardware are shown off using Android 2.2 for now as porting/testing of Honeycomb commences.

HTC's first tablet, the Flyer, is no exception. Running Android 2.2 and a single-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 SoC, the Flyer already sounds very different from other tablets. The Flyer has a 7-inch 1024 x 600 screen and to further differentiate itself it also comes with a capacitive pen that you can use to draw on the screen. Touch the pen to the screen and the Flyer takes a screenshot of what you're currently looking at, whether it's the home screen, email window or web browser and lets you annotate/draw all over it. Once you're done you can either discard the image and go back to doing whatever you were doing or share the image as a jpeg just like you would any other picture. It's a pretty neat idea with tons of potential.

Opting for a high speed single-core CPU is also pretty contrary to what we've seen from most Android tablets thus far. While I personally believe that the dual-core approach makes more sense for the overall user experience (having the second core really makes up for any funky scheduler inefficiencies), the comparison between a 1.5GHz Scorpion core and a pair of 1GHz Cortex A9s won't be as cut and dry as that. The majority of smartphone apps are still bound by the performance of a single thread - where a 1.5GHz single-core Snapdragon could be even faster than a 1GHz Cortex A9.

Sprint announced that it will have the Flyer on sale as the EVO View 4G, featuring WiMAX.

LG at CTIA 2011: Optimus 3D and Optimus G2x Two More HTC Announcements at CTIA 2011: HD7S & EVO 3D
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  • Kaboose - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    Looks like a good selection coming up.
  • Trefugl - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    It is a good selection indeed.

    I do have a question about the HTC Flyer though. I was always under the impression that was using a pressure sensitive pen digitizer (similar to Wacom tablets) vs just using a "meat-stick" capacitive pen. This was a key feature to me as it brings real pressure sensitive input to a tablet device and could lead the way with Photoshop-like apps.
  • seanleeforever - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    capacitive pen. unless the technology has changed dramatically, this will be a total failure due to 2 reasons:

    very low resolution. it is fine to draw circles, but to write words you need to have a digitizer.
    you palm cannot touch the surface of the screen. or else it will be registered as another input and mass up the note.
  • ratbert1 - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    Nice preview. Not sure about your new nail polish though:)
  • Azethoth - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    Were you thinking "Harpy Black" or "Zombie Claw Green" instead? I vote black to go with the wrist hardware.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    Haha sorry, some of those products we weren't allowed to handle ourselves and thus the PR people at the companies were hand models :)

    Take care,
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    I'm guessing they've discovered that people like Anand and Brian can find out an awful lot regarding the internal hardware in a few minutes and are a little worried about early benchmarks and such. Or maybe they just don't want Anand running off with their products? ;-)
  • tigger2u - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    I believe these were "mechanical prototypes" which means that they were non-functioning "dummy" units.

    It is interesting to see how quickly Anand & Co. can get benchmarks loaded onto these devices (were the LG Optimus 3D results obtained with LG's blessing? )

    I'm hoping they get a little quality time with the EVO 3D to see how well the MSM8660 is fairing in that unit.
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    We actually have an MDP8660 with us that we'll be posting some benchmarks from later this week. :)

  • liem107 - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - link

    I noticed the info posters only indicate "1 ghz dual core application processor" .
    i hope the y will use their exynos instead of tegra2...

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