Can HTC with their Android 2.x based tablet make a mark?
Almost every major Android handset manufacturer has announced a tablet based on Google’s Honeycomb (Android 3.0) OS. In fact Motorola has already started shipping their Xoom tablet with Samsung and LG joining this quarter. HTC also announced their tablet called the Flyer at MWC this year, however, surprisingly they chose the 2.x version of Android. With Google stating that they will only support Honeycomb on tablets, was this a wise move by HTC?
I got to play with the Flyer earlier today at a press event held by HTC and the fact that I am not immediately dismissing an Android 2.x based tablet that is yet to be released certainly says something. I think HTC has invested a lot in their Sense UI which, arguably, is the best out-of-the-box skin or makeover for an Android handset. From what I know, Google isn’t being too flexible on changing the UI of Honeycomb based tablets so HTC probably had little choice if they wanted to continue using Sense UI on their tablet.
Specs-wise, the HTC Flyer has a 1.5GHz CPU with 1GB RAM and 32GB storage along with a MicroSD slot for adding further storage. It has a 7″ Super-TFT screen with a 1024×600 resolution and weighs 415 grams. Expect all the radios such as 3G, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 along with GPS. The following is a hands-on video with the device.
As you can see from the video above, the HTC flyer is pretty zippy and Sense UI has certainly translated quite well to the bigger sized screen. The addition of a stylus is a good idea as well- there have been times when I wished I had one for my iPad.
However, HTC has some challenges with the Flyer. The developers will surely focus more on Honeycomb as far as 3rd party applications for tablets are concerned and we don’t really know if we will see many optimized applications for the Flyer outside the HTC camp. This is the exact issue that the Samsung Galaxy Tab faced six months back. Also lets not forget the massively successful iPad, BlackBerry’s upcoming PlayBook and HP’s WebOS based TouchPad that HTC needs to compete against.