Boy oh boy, HTC is entering the tablet arena with quite a bang. The company has just taken the wraps off its brand new 7-inch Flyer Android tablet, which touts a 1.5GHz single-core CPU, 1GB of RAM plus 32GB of flash storage, an aluminum unibody construction, 1024 x 600 resolution, a tablet-optimized version of Sense, and... what's this, a pressure-sensitive stylus! The HTC Scribe trademark we saw floating around in legal waters turned out not to be the branding for a tablet, it's actually the name HTC gives to the technology enabling what it calls a "groundbreaking pen experience." Other details include a 5 megapixel camera on the back paired with a 1.3 megapixel imager up front, a 4000mAh battery rated to last for four hours of continuous video playback, and memory expandability via a microSD card.

The Flyer will ship in Q2 2011 with Android Gingerbread 2.4 on board. HTC says it'll be indistinguishable from 2.3 as far as the end user is concerned, though we all know it won't be quite as good as the 3.0 stuff. We're told not to worry, however, since the new version of Sense being introduced with the Flyer will be the focal point of the company's software offering. As far as HTC is concerned, Sense matters more than the underlying platform, and the reason Honeycomb isn't the shipping OS here was explicitly stated as HTC not having enough time with the latest Google code to customize it to the full requirements of Sense. Guess that settles that.

There are a couple more software enhancements, both marking the introduction of the fruits of HTC's recent deals: OnLive cloud gaming will be coming with the Flyer in the form of an app you open up to access the web-connected bored-relieving service, while that Saffron Digital acquisition has turned into an HTC Watch app for movie streaming and downloading.

We spent a bit of quality time with a Flyer unit recently, although we weren't allowed to turn it on, and our early impressions are rather mixed. On the one hand, we do appreciate the ruggedness and durability that's afforded by the one-piece aluminum shell, but on the other, the Flyer is quite the chunky beast in your hands. We'd imagine strapping in such an extra-speedy processor is the main culprit for its extra girth, though the Flyer is, ironically enough, not terribly light either. We found it heavier and generally a lot less polished from a design perspective than Samsung's Galaxy Tab. Anyhow, HTC should have functional units for us immediately following its MWC presser this morning, and we'll be delving in deeper with this super-specced device. Hang tight!

Update: Pictures of the Flyer can now be explored below and we have video awaiting your audience just past the break.

Update 2: HTC has tweeted that the Flyer will be updated to Honeycomb in Q2.
Gallery | 25 Photos

HTC Flyer first hands-on


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HTC UNVEILS HTC FLYER™, THE FIRST TABLET WITH HTC SENSE™

Aluminum unibody design with touch and pen interaction make HTC Flyer unique

First tablet with HTC Watch™ video service, HTC Scribe™ Technology and OnLive® cloud gaming

BARCELONA, SPAIN – Mobile World Congress – February 15, 2011 – HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced its first tablet, the HTC FlyerTM. HTC Flyer blends HTC's trademark design language with an all-new HTC Sense user experience that has been reimagined for the tablets. Using an intuitive and innovative approach to tablets, HTC Flyer combines natural touch and pen interaction. HTC also announced HTC Watch, a new connected video service that will debut on HTC Flyer tablet, and will collaborate with OnLive, Inc. to launch the first cloud-based mobile gaming service on a tablet.

"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," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. "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."

Encased in a sleek aluminum unibody, the HTC Flyer tablet exudes the iconic style and build quality HTC is known for. It is also ultra-light, weighing as little as a paperback book, and compact enough to fit in a jacket pocket only. With a seven-inch display, lightning fast 1.5Ghz processor and high-speed HSPA+ wireless capabilities, the HTC Flyer tablet is perfect for those who have been waiting for a tablet that is both compact and powerful.

HTC Sense for Tablet
HTC Sense revolutionized smartphones by placing the person at the center of the experience. HTC Flyer's tablet-focused HTC Sense experience focuses on surprising and delighting people with its gorgeous 3D home screen. A unique carousel of widgets puts a user's most important content and information at the visual center of the experience. The HTC Flyer tablet also offers uncompromised Web browsing with Flash 10 and HTML 5.

HTC Scribe Technology
Touch interaction lights up the HTC Flyer tablet experience, but it also offers a groundbreaking pen experience. With the new HTC Scribe Technology on the HTC Flyer tablet, people can rediscover the natural act of writing. HTC Scribe Technology introduces a wave of integrated digital ink innovations that make it easy and natural to take notes, sign contracts, draw pictures, or even write on a web page or photo.

HTC Scribe Technology on the HTC Flyer tablet transforms traditional note-taking into smart note-taking by integrating natural onscreen writing with thoughtful and integrated innovations. A feature called Timemark enables you to capture the audio of a meeting in line with your written notes, so tapping on a word in your notes instantly takes you to that exact place in time in the audio recording of the meeting. Notes are also integrated with the calendar so when there is an appointment reminder you are automatically prompted with an opportunity to begin a new note or in the case of recurring meetings, to continue where the last meeting left off. In an industry first, the HTC Flyer tablet also features built-in synchronization with Evernote™, the world-leading notes application and service.

Streaming Mobile Movies with HTC Watch
The HTC Flyer tablet premieres HTC Watch, HTC's new video download service. The HTC Watch service enables low-cost on-demand progressive downloading of hundreds of High-Definition movies from major studios. The intuitive, natural design of the HTC Watch service makes it easy to find the latest movie and video content, while advanced technology on the back-end enables instant playback over the HTC Flyer tablet's high-speed wireless connection.

Mobile Cloud Gaming with OnLive
HTC takes mobile gaming to an entirely new level by being the first mobile device in the world to integrate OnLive Inc.'s revolutionary cloud-based gaming service. OnLive is leading in the home gaming market by letting people play top video games on their televisions and computers without the need to buy expensive gaming hardware or software. When integrated fully, the OnLive service will enable customers to pipe the OnLive service through the HTC Flyer tablet's broadband wireless to their television sets, or let them play directly on the tablet. When integrated on the HTC Flyer tablet, people can play a variety of games, including hits like Assassin's Creed Brotherhood™, NBA 2K11 and Lego Harry Potter™.

Availability
HTC Flyer will be available to customers globally during Q2 2011.

About HTC
HTC Corporation (HTC) is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile phone industry. By putting people at the center of everything it does, HTC creates innovative smartphones that better serve the lives and needs of individuals. The company is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange under ticker 2498. For more information about HTC, please visit HYPERLINK "http://www.htc.com/"www.htc.com.