HTC Flyer: first look and picture gallery

HTC's 7in Flyer Android tablet - the mobile phone maker's first stab at the proddable PC market - was greeted with some excitement when it was launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona back in February. So it was hardly surprising that we wanted to get one back to Thinq_ Towers as soon as we could to, well, have a prod.

Priced at just shy of £600 for the 32GB model, and £480 for the 16GB - inviting yet more comparisons with Apple's must-have touchscreen device - our first impressions are of a stylish and solidly built tablet.

But despite being primed by HTC's announcement at MWC to expect the disappointment of a tablet based on Android 2.3, rather than the tablet-specific 3.0, we still can't shake the feeling that it's a missed opportunity - particularly now that we've seen, with devices like Motorola's Xoom, what 3.0 can do.

Still, HTC's own apps are well designed for the larger, seven-inch capacitive touchscreen, ensuring that the Flyer doesn't simply feel like a smartphone that has been stretched. Sadly, we can't be quite so sure of third-party apps.

The other fly in the Flyer's ointment, specifications-wise, is its processor. That headline clock speed of 1.5GHz is impressive enough - but it's a single-core chip, rather than the dual-core CPUs we've become used to in the last six months.

With 1GB of RAM, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera and another 5MP snapper at the rear, the Flyer boasts the usual trio of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G - although oddly, users can only make voice calls via VoIP software such as Skype.

All pretty much par for the course. Less expected - at least by those who were asleep when the Flyer launched - is the inclusion of a stylus, which for a moment left us wondering if we'd been transported back to 2002 and awoken clutching an oversized PDA. In the event it's a neat addition, allowing a level of precision iPad users will struggle to emulate.

Quite how successfully the Flyer manages to shoulder the oft bandied-about mantle of 'iPad 2 killer' will be revealed next Monday in a comprehensive review on our sister site IT Reviews. For now, enjoy a closer look at the Flyer's seductive curves...