As expected, HTC has officially joined the tablet fray at Mobile World Congress 2011 with its own 7-inch device. The HTC Flyer touts a 1.5GHz single-core CPU, 1GB of RAM plus 32GB of flash storage, an aluminum unibody construction, and 1024 x 600 resolution. It will ship with Android 2.4 onboard, rather than the latest 3.0 Honeycomb build, but a refreshed version of the company's Sense UI will run on top to optimize the software for tablet use.
Other features include a 5MP camera on the back, 1.3MP front-facing camera for video conferencing, HSPA+ support, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. None of this makes the HTC Flyer distinctive, but rather the user experience and services offered.
For one thing it includes a pressure-sensitive capacitive stylus and a companion app called Notes that supports sketching, handwritten text and annotation of imported photos and clippings. The pen comes with built-in synchronization to the popular note-taking app Evernote, and a feature called Timemark that lets you record audio during a meeting or event and syncs it up with your written notes -- like the Livescribe Echo pen but for a tablet. The Flyer will still support multi-touch finger input as is common in tablets, however, with the stylus not intended to be used for navigation.
For U.S. buyers HTC will be offering the Flyer with OnLive's cloud-based gaming service preloaded on it. You'll be able to access OnLive's library of games and play them right on the tablet or on your TV over a broadband wireless connection with the same pay-per-use and subscription options. HTC says the service is likely to spread to its phones in future, which only makes sense given its recent $40 million investment in the company.
Last but not least, the Flyer will also see the debut of HTC’s new video download service, dubbed HTC Watch, which will allow users to download HD movies on demand directly to the device. HTC will start shipments during Q2, prices are yet to be confirmed but the company says it’s aiming for the "high end" to rival the iPad.