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HTC Flyer Tablet Lands In Britain

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HTC has launched its first tablet PC – the Flyer – in the UK, incorporating both touch and pen capabilities

HTC fans get ready: the company’s first tablet PC, known as the Flyer, will be available in shops across the UK and online from today.

The company’s flagship tablet is now available from HTC Stores, as well as retailers including Amazon, the Carphone Warehouse and Expansys. Prices start from £479.99 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only edition, rising to £599.99 for the 32GB version with both Wi-Fi and 3G.

Stylus with HTC Scribe

HTC unveiled the 7-inch Flyer, along with the ChaCha and Salsa ‘Facebook phones’, at Mobile World Congress in February. The device runs a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and can be operated with either a finger or a stylus, using HTC Scribe technology.

The HTC stylus can draw, paint, write and retouch pictures. “It also serves as a highlighter for the reader,” the company explains on its website. By tapping the screen, users can send notes to their contacts or upload them onto social networking sites such as Facebook.

“There are certain things that are natural about the way we write and collect information,” said Horace Luke, chief innovative officer at HTC. “Not everyone knows how to type, but the second you pick up a pencil, you start scribbling.”

The Flyer launches with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), but HTC has promised to upgrade to Android Honeycomb 3.0, which is optimised for tablets. However, it is unknown when this will arrive.

Retro appeal

Other features include a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel model at the back. It also features Adobe Flash support, multi-window browsing with pinch to zoom, and a quick look-up that lets users tap into Wikipedia, Youtube and other web resources.

3D graphics are also on show, together with a specially-designed version of HTC Sense that incorporates HTC Watch, a video streaming service, and a cloud-based mobile gaming service powered by OnLive. There is also a slew of business features, such as TimeMark for notetaking and audio recording, making it an attractive option for the enterprise market.

Analysts have welcomed the tablet but were not overwhelmed by aspects like the inclusion of a stylus. “HTC’s first tablet – the Android-powered HTC Flyer – is a cautious first move by the company into the space and not one that it expects to compete on a volume basis with its smartphones,” said Tony Cripps, principal analyst at Ovum, back in February. “Nonetheless, the Flyer is noteworthy in bringing some innovation – and even some retro features – to the space.”