HTC, a Taiwan-based company known for its touch-screen mobile telephones, entered the tablet market in 2011 with the HTC Flyer. A version of the Flyer with cellular capabilities is sold by Sprint under the name EVO View 4G.
Mobile, Internet-capable devices like the Flyer and EVO View have gained more than a foothold in American households. By the close of 2010, global sales of smartphones had surpassed PCs [source: Weintraub]. And forecasters predict that by 2015, tablet sales will eclipse PC sales, too. According to Forrester Research, which gathers and analyzes industry-specific data, an estimated 20 million-plus tablets will be sold in 2015 in the United States alone [source: Schonfeld].
The Flyer and EVO View each cost around $500, about the same as HTC competitors' entry-level tablets like the Motorola Xoom, the BlackBerry PlayBook and the recently discontinued HP TouchPad. Some of these tablets, like the PlayBook, initially lacked crucial features like e-mail. Although the HTC tablet does include e-mail, along with other useful features like streaming movies, it wasn't met with critical acclaim.
Because the Flyer/EVO View share such striking similarities to multimedia mobile phones like the HTC Sensation, these HTC tablets have been described as oversized smartphones that don't actually make calls [source: Perlman]. It doesn't help that the tablets run on the phone-centric Android 2.4 (Gingerbread) operating system, which causes the occasional hiccup when used for tablet-sized content streaming and downloads. Other operating systems tend not to have these issues, like Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), which was created specifically to handle the increased data demands of tablets [source: Biddle].
Want to learn more about the underpinnings of HTC tablets? We'll take an in-depth look at its operating system and apps on the next page.
HTC Tablet Specs
The HTC Flyer and the EVO View weigh 14.82 ounces, about as much as a paperback novel. With 7-inch (17.78-centimeter) screens, these tablets are about the same size as a paperback, too. HTC Flyer/EVO fans report the manageable size is part of the tablet's appeal: It can go places where larger 10-inch (25.4-centimeter) tablets cannot, such as pockets and purses.
The HTC Flyer is designed to access the Internet on wireless networks and is sold directly to consumers by HTC. The EVO View 4G is sold exclusively by Sprint, requires a contract, and can run on both a wireless connection and Sprint's cellular network. The Flyer and EVO View feature the Android 2.4 (Gingerbread) operating system, which critics contend is outdated in comparison to 3.0 (Honeycomb [source: Samuel].
Like the iPad and other competitors, HTC tablets come with pre-installed apps that can access e-mail and the Internet. However, HTC tablets have built-in HTC Sense, too -- a special user interface for factory-loaded apps, like media players and calendars. HTC Sense also includes common apps repackaged for HTC, like a Twitter app called Peep [source: Isaac].
Users can download free or paid apps onto their tablets using Android Market. Tapping a square icon labeled "market" on the tablet's home screen accesses the Android Market. From there, users can browse categories, view featured apps or search for an app, and then tap the price button (or "free" button) to install the app [source: HTC].
The Flyer/EVO View tablets running Gingerbread will support any of the 200,000-plus apps on the Android Market. Plus, more HTC-compatible apps are on the way. In June 2011, HTC announced the launch of HTC OpenSense software development kit. The initiative allows third-party developers to create apps specifically for HTC's Sense software and is expected to result in a greater number and variety of apps for HTC's smartphone and tablet users [source: Isaac].
The HTC Flyer has 16GB internal memory, while the HTC EVO View has 32GB internal memory. Both models feature an expandable memory slot, something that's likely to come in handy with all those future apps to install. However, accessories like the HTC tablets' stylus pens are getting mixed reviews. We'll explore this issue -- and more -- on the next page.
HTC Tablet Accessories
HTC tablets are designed to appeal to a variety of users and encourage them to interact with what they're reading or creating. The HTC Flyer and EVO View come with a stylus that can be used to select and navigate apps.
Critics contend the stylus is an outdated tool -- one most people gave up after the demise of handheld personal digital assistants in the '90s. However, proponents believe the stylus is a helpful tool, particularly because of the tablets' software and apps that accept handwritten notes. Users can create drawings, sign documents and save notes on Web pages, electronic books and PDF files [source: Design Boom]. They can even draw on photos taken with the Flyer/EVO View cameras. The devices have 5-megapixel rear-facing cameras and 1.3-megapixel front-facing cameras for still photography and video chats [source: Perlman].
When the HTC tablets first hit the market, the cost of the stylus pen was a sticking point for some buyers. It was free with the EVO View but cost about $80 for those buying a Flyer. Beginning in July 2011, though, the stylus was packaged with the Flyer for free in some retail stores [source: Wagner].
The Flyer and EVO View models both have dual built-in cameras -- 5 megapixel on the back of the device and 1.3 megapixel on the front -- that can capture still frames or video. When it comes to picture power, HTC tablets outgun Apple's iPad, which comes with a less than 1-megapixel camera. The Flyer/EVO View's battery is larger than that of most other tablets, too. The 4,000-milliamp hours (mAh) battery can last seven hours or more [source: Stern].
HTC's upcoming tablet, known internally by the code name "Puccini," will be sold exclusively by AT&T as part of its Long-Term EVOlution (LTE) 4G network, a wireless infrastructure that promises faster data speeds [source: Selleck, Bookwalter]. The 10-inch (25.4-centimeter) Jetstream tablet will be larger than the 7-inch (17.78-centimeter) Flyer and EVO View, but is still expected to offer a similar stylus and touch-screen interface [source: Blass]. And, unlike the Flyer and EVO View, the Jetstream will run on Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system, which has been designed specially for tablets -- something buyers are sure to appreciate [source: Samuel].
- Biddle, Sam. "HTC EVO View 4G: Wanna Buy a Giant Phone That Doesn't Make Calls?" Gizmodo. June 23, 2011. (Aug. 20, 2011) http://gizmodo.com/5814520/htc-evo-view-4g-wanna-buy-a-giant-phone-that-doesnt-make-calls
- Blass, Evan. "HTC Puccini's AT&T Retail Branding Revealed." Pocket Now. Aug. 18, 2011. http://pocketnow.com/android/htc-puccinis-att-retail-branding-revealed-images
- Bookwalter, J.R. "What is LTE?" Mac Life. May 20, 2011. (Aug. 20, 2011) http://www.maclife.com/article/features/what_lte
- China Daily. " HTC Unveils Flyer Tablet Computer." July 22, 2011. (Aug. 28, 2011) http://www.china.org.cn/business/2011-07/22/content_23043122.htm
- Design Boom. "HTC: EVO View + Flyer Tablets." (Aug. 20, 2011) http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/16/view/13804/htc-evo-view-flyer-tablets.html
- HTC. "Finding and Installing Apps from Android Market." (Aug. 20, 2011) http://www.htc.com/uk/howto.aspx?id=37208&type=1&p_id=395
- Isaac, Mike. "HTC Android Smartphones to Gain Specialized Apps." Wired. June 3, 2011. (Aug. 20, 2011) http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/06/htc-developers-motorola/
- Perlman, Mike. "HTC Flyer Report." Info Sync World. (Aug. 25, 2011) http://www.infosyncworld.com/reviews/internet-tablets/htc-flyer-review/12048.html
- Quade, William. "HTC Jetstream/Puccini Release Date." ZL Studios. (Aug. 19, 2011) http://zlstudios.net/2011/08/zl-daily-110-htc-jetstreampuccini-release-date-playstation-vita-getting-in-game-voice-chat/
- Samuel, Elias. "Can HTC Flyer Android Tablet Match Apple iPad 2?" International Business Times. March 7, 2011. (Aug. 20, 2011) http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/119800/20110307/htc-flyer-apple-ipad-2.htm
- Schonfeld, Erick. "Forrester Projects Tablets will Outsell Netbooks by 2012, Desktops by 2013." Tech Crunch. June 17, 2010. (Aug. 20, 2011) http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/17/forrester-tablets-outsell-netbooks/
- Selleck, Evan. "HTC Puccini Will be Known as Jetstream for AT&T, May Land in 2012." Droid Dog. Aug. 18, 2011. http://www.droiddog.com/android-blog/2011/08/htc-puccini-will-be-known-as-jetstream-for-att-may-land-in-2012/
- Stern, Joanna. "HTC Flyer Review." This is My Next. May 26, 2011. (Aug. 25, 2011) http://thisismynext.com/2011/05/26/htc-flyer-review/
- Wagner, Alex. "HTC Flyer Now Includes a Free Stylus at Best Buy." Phone Dog. July 5, 2011. (Aug. 20, 2011) http://www.phonedog.com/2011/07/05/htc-flyer-now-includes-a-free-stylus-at-best-buy/
- Weintraub, Seth. "Industry First: Smartphones Surpass PCs in Sales." CNN Money. Feb. 7, 2011. (Aug. 20, 2011) http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/02/07/idc-smartphone-shipment-numbers-passed-pc-in-q4-2010/