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HTC Flyer: 7-inch iPad 2 killer launched at MWC

MWC 2011: Mobile upstart HTC, maker of iPhone rival-in-chief the HTC Desire, has launched its first tablet computer, the HTC Flyer, at Mobile World Congress today in Barcelona.

And whatever the truth behind the torrent of rumours we've been hearing about Apple's forthcoming iPad 2, HTC's new Android-based tablet looks set to give Steve Jobs' eagerly awaited gizmo a run for its money.

The Flyer's sleek aluminium body houses a 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM and 32GB built-in storage as standard - though HTC has opted for a 7-inch, 1024x600-resolution screen in the vein of Samsung's Galaxy Tab.

More unusual, though, is the fact that HTC has decided to supplement the proddable device with a stylus, which the company says allows greater accuracy when doing things like drawing.

The usual suspects are there as far as connectivity goes - Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and quad-band GSM/GPRS with high-speed HSPA mobile downloads up to 14.4Mbit/s.

A new video streaming service, HTC Watch, is set to debut on the Flyer, and a new cloud-based gaming service developed in association with online gaming specialist OnLive is promised.

But while the Flyer includes support for Flash 10 and HTML 5, the 'fly' in the ointment, if you will, is the fact that it will ship with Android 2.3 'Gingerbread', rather than the newer - and somewhat sweeter - 3.0 'Honeycomb', which has been designed from the ground up specifically for tablet devices.

HTC's popular Sense user interface will help alleviate the smartphone-centric 2.3's shortcomings a little, providing features such as a 3D carousel for browsing content - but users will doubtless be champing for the promised update to 3.0.

Unveiling the already heavily-leaked tablet today at MWC, HTC's CEO Peter Chou told the assembled hacks they could expect more where that came from:

"Clearly, smartphones have transformed our lives but, as we observed how people use smartphones, computers and other technologies, we saw an opportunity to create a tablet experience that is different, more personal and productive.

"We are progressing down a path as an industry when people will no longer be in a single device paradigm, but have multiple wireless devices for different needs; this is the direction we are moving."