HTC Flyer tablet official

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We were expecting an HTC tablet at MWC 2011, and boy has the company delivered. The HTC Flyer is a 7-inch Android slate based on a 1.5GHz Qualcomm single-core processor running Android 2.4 Gingerbread, with a new, refreshed version of HTC Sense. Oh, and just to really stir things up, it has a stylus.

As well as working as a regular capacitive touchscreen with multitouch gesture support, the Flyer’s display packs an active digitizer. Bundled is a battery-powered stylus – it uses an AAAA battery which HTC says should rarely need replacing – that’s pressure sensitive, and allows for handwriting recognition, sketching and flowing ink in the newly adapted Sense. HTC has created a new app, Notes, specifically for stylus use, into which you can paste and annotate text and photos, and then sync them wirelessly to Evernote. Notes will also allow you to record audio in a feature called Timemark, time-linking your handwritten jottings to index points along the track so that you can skip easily to each section. They’re also linked to the calendar, so you’re offered a new note when you have a scheduled appointment, or the chance to append to old notes for recurring appointments.
That’s not the extent of Sense’s adaptations, however. HTC has completely redesigned the UI to suit a tablet’s 1024 x 600 display, with a new 3D homescreen complete with floating widgets. In landscape orientation, icons are arranged into a carousel, while in portrait orientation – which HTC user experience manager Drew Bamford tells us the company expects most users to favor, given the Flyer’s compact, notepad-scale dimensions and option of two-handed stylus use – there’s a new 3D grid of apps.
The HTC Flyer may not run Android 3.0 Honeycomb out of the box – HTC says that “soon after” launch there will be a Honeycomb OTA update, and the company assured SlashGear that the timeliness of that update shouldn’t be impeded by carrier modifications – but it still gets dual-pane apps of HTC’s own making. There’s multi-pane browsing, calendar, email and address book, and, perhaps frustrating some would-be users, even when Honeycomb arrives, like HTC’s smartphones there won’t be a way to turn Sense off (short of flashing a custom ROM, of course).


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