Flyer, HTC’s First Tablet Debuts in Taiwan – The iPad Killer?

HTC Corp., the Taiwan-based world’s leading smart phone makers, will officially debut its first tablet PC model HTC Flyer on the island. The HTC Flyer is expected to inject new revenue growth momentum into the firm.


The model was first unveiled on Feb. 15 this year at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011 held in Barcelona, Spain. The HTC Flyer blends HTC’s trademark design language with an all-new HTC Sense user experience that has been re-imagined for the tablets. Using an intuitive and innovative approach to tablets, HTC Flyer combines natural touch and pen interaction, according to company sources.


Encased in a sleek aluminum unibody, the HTC Flyer tablet exudes the iconic style and build quality HTC is known for. It is also ultralight, weighing as little as a paperback book, and is compact enough to fit in a jacket pocket. With a seven-inch display, lightning fast 1.5Ghz processor and high-speed HSPA+ wireless capabilities, the HTC Flyer tablet is perfect for those who have been waiting for a tablet that is both compact and powerful, the sources said.


The HTC Flyer tablet also offers uncompromised Web browsing with Flash 10 and HTML 5. With the new HTC Scribe Technology on the HTC Flyer tablet, people can rediscover the natural act of writing. HTC Scribe Technology introduces a wave of integrated digital ink innovations that make it easy and natural to take notes, sign contracts, draw pictures, or even write on a web page or photo.


The phone has features such as 4-inch WVGA Super LCD display and 8 megapixel camera equipped with dual LED-flash and offering image stabilization. It operates on 768 MB of RAM and 1.1 GB of ROM and also has a front facing 1.3 megapixel camera that can be used for making video calls.


There’s little doubt that HTC, which grew out of an unknown contract manufacturer into a bigger company than Nokia, is good at designing and making phones. Now, with its first tablet PC, the HTC Flyer, hitting stores HTC will have to prove that it can make more than just phones.


The Taiwanese company may be in for a bigger challenge this time. Unlike the mobile market, where HTC dominates because few other brands recognized the industry’s shift towards smartphones, HTC is releasing the Flyer at a time when nearly every other competitors – plus a few more from the PC industry – has already jumped on the tablet bandwagon. There is also no special treatment from Google or Microsoft this time around. While HTC had enjoyed a special relationship with Google and Microsoft with its smartphones a few years ago, because it was one of the few specialised smartphone makers, now Google has chosen Motorola to debut the first Android-based tablet.


Yet there are factors working in HTC’s favour too. It is now a much bigger and more well-known company than it was when it first started, and tablets are in some sense a return to HTC’s roots as a contract manufacturer, when it had built personal digital assistants for Compaq and Palm.


Jack Tong, vice-president for HTC Asia, said the Flyer seeks to “redefine the use and meaning of the pen for tablets.” HTC also appears to be going beyond just hardware design and manufacturing with its tablets by emphasising the company’s own online services and content.


HTC has also channelled Google’s aborted Wave project with some new features on the tablet. HTC Timemark, for example, associates content such as notes, photos, voice recording and videos with an entry in the user’s calender, which can then be shared with others. HTC Evernote provides cloud-based storage for this information.


At just 7-inches, the Flyer is also smaller than the standard 10-inch slates such as the iPad. This could be a good thing – a lighter, smaller device is more mobile, but equally it could be criticised for looking too much like a massive smartphone.


But this would not be such a bad thing for HTC. If its tablets fare as well as its smartphones has, there is every chance that the Taiwanese company could emerge as one of the winners in the tablet wars.

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