HTC Flyer Falls Short With Android 2.X


Since I’ve played with the Motorola XOOM, LG Optimus Pad, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, I’ve quickly become an Android Tablet snob. And by that, I mean anything less than Android 3.0 just doesn’t seem worthwhile. Today HTC announced their first Android Tablet, the HTC Flyer, and I wasn’t impressed.

HTC has been an Android powerhouse, not only competing with other manufacturers but often setting the bar and blazing the trail. In terms of Android Tablets, Motorola, Samsung and LG have left HTC in the dust. Their hardware isn’t necessarily better… it’s just, Android 2.X on a tablet now seems forced and unnatural after you’ve experienced Honeycomb.

Although I prefer 10-inch tabs, the HTC Flyer hardware is actually pretty good. Some of the key specs include:

  • 7-inch screen
  • 1024 by 600 pixel resolution
  • Half an inch thick
  • 14.8 ounces
  • 1.5GHz processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 5MP camera
  • 1.3MP front facing camera
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • 4000 mAh battery

It isn’t the hardware that falls flat, on the contrary, HTC is one of the most solid manufacturers out there and all of their MWC announcement are solid on the hardware side. But the software. It was noticeably laggy, slow and just didn’t feel right.

The Flyer also comes with a Stylus and a “Scribe” button which only works when touched with the actual pen/stylus itself. HTC has baked a bunch of features into Android for use with the stylus, allowing you to draw pretty much anywhere, save and share pics, sync them with Evernote, along with a bunch of other functionality.

Even with HTC Sense optimized for tablets and these unique features, the HTC Flyer falls flat. I can’t see it performing too well in terms of sales either: why would you buy the Flyer when you could buy the XOOM, Optimus Pad, or Galaxy Tab 10.1?

At CES and other events the most prevalent Android product has been crappy Android tablets. Anyone and everyone was slapping Android on a big screen and calling it a day. By no means would I classify the HTC Flyer as “crappy”, but I’ve come to expect cutting edge products from HTC and this particular device just seems a generation too old.

It’s a shame, too, because there isn’t even an Android 3.0 Tablet available for sale yet and it’s already making predecessors obsolete. Before the HTC Flyer launches it already seems old. I’d suggest HTC either wait to release and ship it with an upgrade or cut their losses and shelve altogether.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself, Rob. For the average consumer this may be fine, but for us enthusiasts, this is totally DOA.

  2. Bummer. I was looking to HTC setting another standard in the Android field… I agree with you and hope they shelve it and get back to the old drawing board… Come on HTC… We expect better.

  3. This bums me out as well. I prefer a smaller tablet like the Streak 7 and this but so far BOTH have come out with 2.x. Its looking like my dream of a 7-8″ tab with honeycomb wont be coming true any time soon.

  4. 1.5GHz, 1GB RAM, higher than normal RES, huge battery, and a FFC make up for the lack of Honeycomb IMO. If the Flyer is priced like the Dell Streak 7 then I will be buying one of these over a 7 or 8 hundred dollar tablet.

  5. They’ve told multiple sources that they’re working on a Honeycomb version of Sense.

    So it’s just the spec which is disappointing.

  6. Wow, all the waiting and build up from HTC…and this is it? Great article and I agree with @tom. I hope Google will take some command and create a Nexus Slate or something like they have done with the Nexus phones.

  7. @whosani All the current Honeycomb tablets run stock 3.0 and all run on Tegra 2. What would make a Nexus Slate different from what it is now. To me it seems like the Xoom is the Nexus

  8. You guys don’t get it.

    This tablet is all about the ability to take notes, with a real active digiziter.

    This is the tablets real enthusiasts have been waiting for.

    Obviously, since Honeycomb isn’t out and they had no opportunity to write their great note-taking applications for Honeycomb, 2.4 Gingerbread is the right choice for now.

  9. I am very disappointed at HTC. Was expecting Honycomb from them.I just think this was an afterthought.

  10. Plus — and I’ve said this before, but goddammit I’ll keep flogging it — IT’S A TABLET. WHY IS THERE ONLY A MICROSD SLOT?

    By all means, put a Micro slot in. But a standard SD could fit in alongside it with ease, and standard SD cards are available at higher capacities and higher classes for a LOT less money. It’s just stupid.

  11. Gotta agree with Brandon on this one. The point of “Nexus” is that Google took a specific piece of hardware, and used that hardware as the basis for the next OS. The XOOM is that piece of hardware.

  12. Um, no Dual Core. Next.

  13. Honestly I was expecting more from HTC. They let me down. I guess they started with the left foot and now MOTO, LG, Samsung and Even ACER have an edge over HTC. This is a perfect example how times can change really fast.

  14. Can’t believe the negativity and overlooking how important the stylus is:
    Up until this point all of the pads that have been announced are slower laptops with less functionality. Functionally, They can nothing different from a normal laptop.
    The stylus is a game changer. As a student, I can get rid of all my notebooks, planner, and one day text books and just use this.
    As a business person, I can get rid of my notebook, and for the first time sync my meeting notes with an event in my calendar.
    Functionally, this is a game changer.



  16. I bet their Sense UI is the reason for the wait for Honeycomb.

  17. There are a couple of features here which may make up for the unassuming specs:

    -This tablet is supposed to be compatible with OnLive, so you can play all of the games offered through that
    -According to HTC, Android is not yet optimized for dual core processors, the processor in the Flyer is a new Qualcomm model
    -Gizmodo had a decidedly different experience (and more photos):!5760120/htc-flyer-the-aluminium-android-tablet-that-plays-console-games

  18. They make top notch phones why would they put the brilliant hardware in this tab only to cripple it with a non-tablet optimized version of android, bring me on the quad core ti omap 5 without efuse and rub one out for you htc

  19. Depends on the pricing. I love the stylus idea, I love Sense, I love 7″ portability. I wish it had a dual core processor. If this is priced right, I’ll consider it.

  20. Does nobody remember Mytouch Slide and how bad they fail? I just forget, I don’t get why everyone loves HTC, sure you can drop their phones an hundred times and they don’t break, but the SenseUI is Android for toddlers. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.

  21. Also before Richard hops in and days how bad this sucks, keep in mind Richard that huge announcement sprint made was basically a nintendo ds with 3G. And Richard this is made by htc who makes your precious EVO. That said the stylus seems like a great thing to me and htc is known for android updates and their ability to get them out. The galaxy tab 10.1 will forever be stuck on the version of android it cones out with, look at the original galaxy tab, not even close to a year old and forgotten.


    HTC just announced Honeycomb update is coming:

  23. the specs on this are better than a rooted & overclocked Nook Color. i have one of those and it’s great for only costing $250.

    i can see the same thing happen with this device. a honeycomb root will be made within a week of release, just like the one already available for the nook color. plus i am sure this device can be overclocked 200-300 mhz higher than spec. if this thing releases for $399 or less, it’s awesome IF you are up to rooting the device.

  24. I gotta agree with Cpt Mike Beard.. a tablet that can replace the paper textbooks and with a stylus it can replace the pen, paper.
    If textbooks do come in eBook formats….this tablet could be a hit for the college student.

  25. I’m sure HTC will see articles and the comments associated with them and start to rework things. Its happened before!

  26. the stylus makes this seem worth gettting. I love that idea. However, depends what the price is…

  27. Android tablets have destroyed Android phones. It’s official.

    Imaging if we could buy a phone with 1024 resolution and 4000 mah battery.

    It would be amazing, but instead they’ve announced the same crap they made last year with phones and this disappointing device.

    I’m really bummed.

  28. Mike: In that case I’ll repeat. SD CARD SLOT PLEASE.

  29. Rob, you’re a dumbass. How can you bash a product solely due to the OS, which is upgradeable. Did you miss this from HTC
    “HTC says that “soon after” launch there will be a Honeycomb OTA update, and the company assured us that the timeliness of that update shouldn’t be impeded by carrier modifications”.
    Also, why on Earth would you put “Why would anyone buy a Flyer when the Xoom and 10.1 are out there”…Well, cause it’s 7”. Regardless of what you like, the 10″ tabs are not portable outside of a briefcase or backpack. The 7″ tab is perfect for placing in coat, pants pockets..THAT’s why someone would buy it. Not everyone wants a 10′ “couch tab”.

  30. Hey, at least it pretty much confirms Android 2.4 is Gingerbread. I like confirmations.

    The hacking community will get Honeycomb on this tablet anyway. It won’t be out of the box, but meh, I like tinkering, which is why I have a B&N Nook Color.

  31. I would definitely agree with your statement about the android tablets. Basically if its not out yet and you want it to sell, go back to the drawing board, get honeycomb on it, up the processor and give it more umpf. Then release it and actually sell some.

  32. Rob what you say is true but HTC could still steal the market if they offer this tablet @ a ridiculously gret price and have people pick it up as a second around the town tablet.

  33. It’s all price. We know the Flyer will get the Honeycomb update, so if it costs $500 while the rest are $800, why not give give it a try?

  34. News moves too fast sometimes and it is time to update your preview. HTC has confirmed on their official facebook account that a Honeycomb update is coming to the Flyer in Q2. Maybe they read all the early negative reviews yesterday and decided they were going to have product that was DOA without Honeycomb.

  35. I would like to see a demo of these tablets in a business sense. I run a service company with 300 customers and have been looking at getting a tablet as a extension to my phone.

    By a extension I mean a bigger screen to view my quickbooks app, google docs and credit card processing. I know I can use a laptop but sense everything I use is web based a tablet tethered to my phone would be more ideal.

    Trust me I have seriously embrassed my competitors by conducting business via my phone with everything being mobile. My competitors can compete with speed and ease I can generate a invoice, estimate or pull up their records.

    So when possible show the business capabilities of the tablets. Social networking, gaming, watching movies and reading emails is cool and all but show us the business power of the tablets.

  36. This is B.S. They are releasing a 2.x tablet in a 3.0 market just so they can shove Sense (which most people don’t want) down our throats?

    I’d say F HTC but it seems that the other manufacturers all have their own issues.

  37. I meant can not compete

  38. I dont think it matters what version of the Android is on an HTC product…because they want to put sense on everything…which sucks….Not that sense sucks…but hell I want to use Vanilla Android sometimes..

  39. IMO, using a stylus in this day and age is like going back in time, back to when the original “PDA’s” used a stylus. No thanks. Besides, 7″ is too damn small for a tablet to begin with.

  40. Apparantly it is going to come with a version of Onlive to stream PC and console games.

  41. I’d get this Tab before every other magical “Honeycomb” tab if the price is right. And its HTC so they’ll more than likely update it anyway.

  42. @Capt Mike Beard – I agree that the stylus was a great idea, but I would rather them wait to release this with Honeycomb. I would also prefer 10″, since it’s closer to the size of a sheet of paper. 10″ equals no scrolling for letter-sized documents. Back to the stylus, I still plan on getting the XOOM, and I have also always planned on picking up a capacitive stylus to go along with it. In fact, my plan was to get the one HTC makes, which sells for about $15. Or you can actually make one with crap probably laying around your house:

  43. @31 7″ is easier to be an on-the-go device. Why would I want something bigger than a netbook, costing like 4x than a netbook with less functionality than a netbook? Plus it has a capacitive touchscreen like all the other tablets, it just includes the option for a stylus. Great for note taking, writing notes inside of e-books. It is so simple yet useful. Quietly brilliant. That is how you do it right.

  44. Good point, but I just think that 7″ is too small to be productive and too large to comfortable fit in your pocket. I guess if you’re a women and carry a purse it’d be perfect, but I think 10″ is a more logical size for a tablet. This way you can get rid of the stylus that all too often gets lost and eventually dings up your screen.

  45. 10 inch is fine for business use because I would use a padfolio case. Put the 10 inch screen size would allow for easier editing/creating of business document such as google docs, qoutes, proposals and invoices.
    If they would show how tablets would perform in a mobile web based business environment that would be nice. I see businesses as one of the main avenues to justify the $800 plus price tag.

    The stylus would be a niche based feature

  46. the functionailty of this is clearly a game changer, but, the software is lackluster because of its speed (but that should be fixed with honeycomb because of hardware accel)

  47. HTC said they would update this to honeycomb, so if it is priced right from the beginning people would have a great Tab with honeycomb on it. Just wait a little while and not have to pay the price of the Xoom.

  48. Seriously, Sense UI? nobody wants that shit, i swear these companies need to stop putting their shitty overlays on top of android. I’m glad that all of the rest of the companies are using vanilla, the Google experience, honeycomb.

  49. @29 – Thanks. I realize HTC promised an upgrade to Android 3.0 in Q2 but that doesn’t change my position. Timelines on these updates change, and 2.3 to 3.0 is too big of a difference to spend hundreds of dollars and hope for an upgrade. And remember, they’re building Android 3.0 with Sense for the first time so who knows how long it will take or how good it will work.
    Nobody buys a product based on how well it might work in the future, they buy it based on how well it works when they buy it. When and if the Flyer gets 3.0, we’ll see how well Sense works on it, and then maybe the story will change. But for now, I stand by my statements that launching a 2.X tablet when their big 3 competitors already announced 3.0 tablets is nothing short of a disappointment.

  50. i can’t wait for the boys at xda to get to work on this one….if it’s under 400$ for wifi-only, i think i might have to get this. just hope it can be rooted and ROM-ified.

  51. Rob, while I respect your articles, I do have to disagree on this one. It isn’t like Gingerbread is horrible (I like Gingerbread a lot to be honest). Especially Gingerbread with the class and beauty of Sense. HTC has probably been working on this for a while (before Honeycomb was even released), it incorporates a stylus (something which no tablet has) and requires the entire UI and included apps to be able to utilize it (making Sense the big reason as to why it does not have Honeycomb). With Motorola/Samsung/LG all releasing tablets, HTC didn’t really have the time to adapt all of that to Honeycomb.

    Are you seriously going to say that you would take a pointless device like a 10″ tab (lets face it, a 10″ tablet is the size of a netbook with less functionality and 4x the price) over something as brilliant as this (due to the stylus). Something which allows you to easily take notes. It is perfect for a student, suppose you were a student- eliminate the notebook completely, just take all your notes through that stylus. Then find all your textbooks in e-book format, which many are today, and be able to carry around all of your textbooks (and easily write in them) on a portable on-the-go device.
    Quietly brilliant. This is why they are the best.

  52. I think HTC will shock most of you guys that are bashing their tablet. They may need to upgrade their specs to do so, but if anyone knows anything about HTC, their products are incredibly usable and practical.

  53. Let me say this, THIS IS A FAIL!!! I prefer Htc, I own a rooted Evo but this is sheer stupidity!! For this to even get off a shelf it has to be priced under $500 no contract,wifi only! Why would you release a 7″ tablet now?? Htc could have released this last yr, but they let apple rule the market and have a yr lead on consumers! Then you put out a tablet without Honeycomb! Htc is smoking crack!! I know that Htc has a 10″ tablet coming but thats probally in the fall of 2011, by that time Apple will have released a new ipad, Motorola Xoom wifi tablet will be out and cheaper, toshiba & LG tablet will be cheaper, and where is Htc behind in the tablet wars again. Not to mention Samsung’s tablet. Lets be real the 7″ tablet is so last yr and it will not sell better than the 10″ tablet, especially not with 2.4 on it. Forget it!! I am so disappointed with Htc, they have to redeem themselves at CTIA 2011!!! This Bull Jive

  54. This 7″ better drop soon because if not it will drop off the face of the earth!! They have announced it and it should come out no later than April for way under $500. Like $300. I don’t think they realize that they need to scrap this. No sd card slot, single core processor. It’s not worth my money. And when will it get honeycomb? They never say when. My Evo don’t even have gingerbread yet, that’s garbage..

  55. I agree with Ace Curry(and many of the others) completely. I am a university student and have been using a windows based tablet with an active digitizer to take all my notes. This could be a great replacement for that(not sure yet). A pen makes a tablet a productivity tool. Otherwise, it’s just a toy. And don’t even try to say that you could just use a capacitive pen on the xoom. The only people who say that are people who have never used an active digitizer. It’s like night and day. I wouldn’t even consider using anything other than an active digitizer. Unfortunately, n-trig digitizers aren’t as good as wacom, but it’s still better than nothing. I would love honeycomb(and I sure hope they update soon) but 2.x with a pen beats out 3.0 without any day in my books. I just need to see how well that note taking app works. I especially concerned about the organization of notes. I looks like you just get a big long list of notes which would be horrible. I would be taking 3-6 notes every day so by the end of the semester, i probably have 200+ notes. Navigating though that would be a mess if it is organized the way it seems. They need to mimic MS OneNote a little more.

  56. The whole point is the stylus, people. This product targets a completely different market than all the iPad knockoffs you’re lusting after. I have no use for an Apple style tablet, but something that’s portable and lets me take handwritten notes is worth a few hundred bucks to me easily. I want this because it fulfills my needs in a way that the Xoom just can’t.

  57. I would get the HTC tablet over the LG, Samsung and Motorola because it is actually something greater than a toy. That pen feature alone opens all kinds of options. I’m in the Army and I can think of plenty of uses for a tablet like this.

  58. Pass

  59. You think you will need a stylus? Go to asia where HTC is and everyone there needs a stylus :)

  60. I think it is very important to have a tablet with a stylus. I’m learning to draw with Andrew Loomis’ “Fun with a pencil” (you can find it online) and my drawings are now very good. However, I would like the benefits of the digital format.

  61. This and the ASUS Memo sofar are the ONLY Android Tablets with potential to finally replace my old dated TC1100.
    Believe it or not, a stylus is very important to/for some people.

    As great as all these new Honeycomb tablets that are coming out are, none of them can replace my TC1100 and it’s been nearly a decade since it’s release.

  62. I’m posting this note from a 10″ tablet. You know, the one that’s been available for nearly a year. And while I love the screen size while sitting at the dining room table or in the airplane, I find this device too large to throw in my day-pack. I’m actually intrigued with the idea of a 7″ tablet, and looking forward to trying one that isn’t locked down by Apple.

  63. price ?

    availability date ?

  64. Seems like a great product that a lot of people could use. Can’t wait to try this out and then try out a Honeycomb tablet as well.

  65. unfortunately HTC has a very very poor record in promising upgrades and delivering them. So I would not hold your breath for Honeycomb, assume it is at least two quarters back on what HTC say. So the only reason is semms to buy a Flyer is the price. $500 no way, $300 yes!

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