HTC’s Flyer tablet is everything that every other tablet shown at Mobile World Congress this year isn’t; it’s got a small(er) screen, doesn’t have a dual-core CPU and isn’t running Android 3.0 (at least not initially). Then there’s that stylus.
But that’s not to say that it’s not worth a closer look. Quite the reverse; we were intrigued by how video content and gaming would look and work on a non dual-core tablet. We wanted to see that ‘digital ink’ and the stylus in action and we were intrigued to see how HTC Sense – the best custom UI for Android – would look and work on a tablet.
In the flesh, the HTC Flyer certainly looks nice. There’s no denying that the metal exterior with the white plastic accents is very easy on the eye.
HTC Sense also translates well to bigger screened devices. It has that same colourful background and the homescreens have a floating carousel/zoetrope effect. Not too dissimilar in fact, to the animated 3D widgets that we saw during Google’s live demo of Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
Click through our own carousel of pictures to have a look of the HTC Flyer yourself.
We were unable to see any shots of the OnLive gaming app, as that’s apparently still being worked on. But we were shown how HTC Watch, HTC’s video on demand service, will work and got to play around with the stylus for a bit as well.
When you flip the HTC Flyer over into landscape mode, the homescreens quickly reorient themselves. It’s very impressive and nicely done – we imagine once the upgrade to Android 3.0 is in place it’ll be a bit slicker too.
Note that there are Home, Menu and Back buttons at the bottom of the screen; until 3.0 arrives on the Flyer, you’ll be using these to navigate menus and web pages and the like.
The back of the HTC Flyer, with the 5-megapixel primary camera up on the top. On the right hand side there are two external stereo speakers. The white plastic and metal jacket is very nice, though we’d worry about scratching it if it fell.
Another shot of the back, showing off the camera (again), the power button and the 3.5mm headphone jack. That’s not materia leaking out of the HTC Flyer by the way, just a by-product of the lighting around HTC’s booth.
How the main menu of HTC Watch will look on the Flyer. You’ll be able to rent titles like Batman Begins and Black Hawk Down for as little as a pound, or download them to own for £1.99.
We were told that you’ll be able to start downloading a movie from HTC Watch and that the download would be paused if you lost your data connection, and then resume as soon as a new connection was established – just like with the Amazon MP3 Android app.
A selection of the virtual ‘pens’ you’ll be able to use with the notes application. You can choose from a number of different styles of pen or brush and alter their thickness. Pens, brushes, and ink/paint colours are all selected using the stylus.
More pens and brushes for use with notes. The idea is that the stylus can be used to annotate documents and PDFs as well as being used for fun things like drawing on pictures and messing around with notes.
A nice parting shot from ‘HTC in Barcelone’. Note the colour wheel at the bottom of the screen. The two buttons on the stylus are used for selecting text, when you want to copy and paste from something, and for erasing, when you want to get rid of notes or correct any annotations you make.