Taiwanese phone maker HTC Corp. joined the tablet bandwagon as it released its Android-based 7-inch tablet the Flyer, stoking competition in the 7-inch form factor which includes players like Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak 7.
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) event at Barcelona has brought some surprises like Samsung, the trumpeter of the 7-inch form factor launching a 10.1-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab to tackle the likes of iPad and Motorola Xoom. The maker of the famed HTC EVO 4 handset is touted to be one contender capable of taking on the might of Apple iPad. However, with its Flyer donning a 7-inch form HTC is first attempting to take the battle upfront with 7-inch Android tablet makers Samsung and Dell. Probably its upcoming tablet Scribe would be 10-inch contender.
HTC Flyer runs on Android Gingerbread and uses HTC Sense user interface which brings its 3D home experience to users. Both Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak 7 use Android 2.2 or Froyo and are upgradeable to Gingerbread. HTC is focusing more on its Sense UI rather than its platform as it states in its press release: HTC Flyer blends HTC's trademark design language with an all-new HTC Sense user experience that has been reimagined for the tablets.
HTC Flyer sports a single-core Snapdragon processor under its hood humming at 1.5 GHz which will give it more processing power than Samsung Galaxy Tab which has 1 GHz Hummingbird processor. However, Dell Streak 7 is fired by a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor which makes it lightning fast compared to Flyer and Galaxy Tab.
Flyer sports a 1024x600 pixel screen resolution which is the same as Galaxy Tab, while Dell Streak 7 offers only 800x480 in resolution. However, Dell Streak, in spite of the lower screen resolution, offers a paltry 4 hours in battery life. Although HTC Flyer also returns a meager 4 hours in battery life it scores over Dell in that it offers higher screen resolution. Samsung Galaxy Tab though beats them both with its 7 hours battery life with a screen resolution of 1024x600.
HTC Flyer sports 32 GB of internal memory while both Streak 7 and Galaxy Tab offer 16 GB in internal memory. Also Flyer has 1GB RAM compared to Galaxy's 640MB and Streak's 512 MB RAM. Flyer has an edge with higher RAM and more storage capacity.
The Flyer tips the scale at .91 pounds which though less than Streak 7's 1 pound weight is more than Galaxy's 0.83 lbs. Thus Galaxy Tab scores on this front as it is lighter on hand doing justice to its 7-inch form, as users expect a 7-inch tablet to be lighter than a 10-inch tablet which measures around 1.6 pounds like the Motorola Xoom.
Camera specifications for the Flyer are the same as Dell Streak -- a 5 MP rear-facing camera and a 1.3 MP front facing camera for video chat. Galaxy Tab is rather challenged on this front as it offers 3MP rear and 1.3 MP front facing cameras.
Both Streak and Galaxy play 1080p video and though details of Flyer's video playback abilities have not been revealed it has sufficient processing power and display resolution to play 1080p videos.
Although HTC Flyer brings a key differentiator in that it offers a stylus which aids note taking. The technology is called HTC Scribe Technology which also uses a feature called Timemark which enables a user to capture the audio of a meeting in line with the written notes. Thus tapping on a word in the notes instantly takes a user to that exact place in time in the audio recording of the meeting.
While HTC comes into the crowded tablet market where better options like Android 3.0 running devices are available, HTC can certainly compete in the 7-inch category which seems rather less crowded compared to the 9.7 and 10-inch form factor where Motorola, HP, LG, Samsung and iPad are slugging it out.
Here is a comparison between 7-inch Android tablets HTC Flyer, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak:
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Dell Streak 7
Snapdragon 1.5 GHz
Hummingbird 1.2 Ghz
Nvidia Tegra 2 1GHz
5 MP rear, 1.3 front
3 MP rear, 1.3 front
5 MP rear and 1.3 front