HTC Android tablet: The pen makes it special

HTC's new tablet features stylus input.

HTC has posted a new promotional video for its upcoming Android tablet, which will either be named the Flyer--its moniker in the video--or the smartphone-like Evo View 4G when it arrives this summer.

As tablets go, the specs for the Flyer (I like this name better, so I'm sticking with it) are impressive but far from unique: a 7-inch, 1024-by-600 display; 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor; 1GB of RAM; 32GB of internal memory; a microSD card slot; and dual cameras (5-megapixel rear, 1.3-megapixel front).

Nice, yes, but not unique enough to win a specs battle against the iPad 2 and umpteen other Android tablets that will ship this year. What makes the Flyer unique is its pen-input feature. OK, I know what you're saying. A stylus? Pen input? That's so ten years ago. Didn't Microsoft and others try and fail at pen-based tablets sometime last century?

In the consumer market, tablets never caught on until Apple launched the iPad in 2010. And as we all know, the finger-friendly iPad most definitely does not require a stylus.

But despite the woeful history of pen-based tablets, HTC is giving it another go with the Flyer. There's an important distinction between the Flyer and the failed tablets of yesteryear, however. As PCWorld's Mark Sullivan made clear in February when he got a sneak peak at the Flyer at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the new HTC slate is really a touch tablet that does a few pen-based tricks.

"Don't worry, you don't need [a stylus] to operate the device. The pen is used mainly in the Notes app: you can draw out ideas whiteboard style-and talk while you're doing it-and the app records everything that happens," he wrote.

If one can trust HTC's promo video, the Flyer's pen implementation looks pretty slick.   The abilities to notate in ebooks, comment on documents and Web pages, and sign contracts with a stylus add a new layer of functionality to today's tablets. A pen is also better for many drawing and photo-editing tasks, as the video carefully illustrates.

As much as I like the touch-based iPad--and to a lesser degree, the Samsung Galaxy Tab--I've felt that some tools would benefit from a more precise input device (e.g., a stylus). It'll be interesting to see if HTC's pen-input makes the Flyer a standout in an increasingly crowded tablet market.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags tablet PCconsumer electronicsGooglehtcPhonesAndroidtablets

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?