Can a 7″ tablet with an older Android 2.x OS survive the iPad & Honeycomb ones?
The HTC Flyer has a 7” screen with a resolution of 1024×600. That, right there, gives you the first hint as to why HTC chose an older version of Android as Google hasn’t allowed any device lower than 8.9” in screen size to be released for their Honeycomb OS yet. The screen is Super LCD and of pretty good quality with excellent viewing angles, however, it’s not necessarily one that works as well outdoors in the UAE sun.
Like the HTC Incredible S, there are a few capacitive buttons located below the screen in the Flyer. However, unlike the Incredible S, where the buttons rotated when you switched between portrait and landscape modes, the buttons on the Flyer move on the bezel with them appearing either on side across from the front facing camera or the one across from the HTC. That certainly adds a bit of a cool factor to the Flyer.
The second and more important reason why HTC chose the older version of Google’s Andoid OS is because of their excellent custom user interface called SenseUI which makes a jump to v3.0 on the HTC Flyer. Google is not so open on modifying the way that Honeycomb UI looks and without doubt, the SenseUI is one the biggest strengths of HTC devices so leaving that behind would have made the HTC Flyer on the many Honeycomb tablets. However, that might change in the near future and we just might see a Honeycomb update with SenseUI later this year.
HTC continues to amaze me with their SeneUI which is not only beautiful but also very functional. And it works wonderfully on the Flyer. HTC has done an excellent job of scaling things up to the bigger screen and all their widgets and add-ons work really well. The home screen looks slick and the transparency and animations are super smooth. The following quick video shows you how the interface works.
Although SenseUI works really well on the HTC Flyer, you start notifcing issues once you step out of it and into other applications that are not necessarily designed for a bigger screen. Keep in mind that Android 2.x is mostly used for Smartphone with 3.x-4.x” screens and application developers design their apps accordingly. Thus you will find quite a few apps that just don’t look right or are not tablet optimized- exactly the same issue that Samsung’s 7” Tab suffered from last year. Until the Flyer transitions into Honeycomb or Android 2.x and 3.x are merged, you will face this issue.