Ladies and gentlemen, another tablet is entering the arena. HTC’s Flyer, a 7-inch Android slab, will be available at Best Buy for $500 starting this Sunday.
The HTC Flyer has a 1.5 GHz single-core processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, 16 GB of on-board storage, a microSD expansion slot and a micro-USB port. It runs Android 2.3 with a tablet-optimized version of HTC’s Sense interface on top.
The Flyer’s standout feature is an $80 pen accessory, which lets you take handwritten notes, highlight text and mark up web pages. It’s not exactly a stylus because you don’t use it to navigate around the software. It’s strictly used for writing.
But I’m not sure whether that’ll be enough to overcome the Flyer’s shortcomings. The tablet’s considerably thicker than an iPad 2 at 0.52 inches, and heavy for a tablet of its size at 0.93 pounds (Samsung’s Galaxy Tab weighs 0.85 pounds). HTC has promised an eventual update to Android Honeycomb, the tablet version of Google’s mobile operating system, but right now it’s running a beefed up smartphone OS, which means it can’t support apps specifically made for Android 3.0.
My colleague Doug Aamoth informs me that he’s got an unopened Flyer sitting on his desk. And I’ll probably cruise to Best Buy on Sunday to check it out, if only because the pen accessory sounds neat. Stay tuned for impressions.