HTC's Flyer and Evo View 4G tablets bring back the stylus [Video]
HTC is hedging its bets that a combo of a stylus and a 7-inch screen will capture consumer attention in an increasingly competitive tablet market that has been successful for few companies.
The HTC Flyer, a currently wi-fi-only tablet sold through Best Buy, and the HTC Evo View 4G, hitting Sprint stores on June 24, both feature stylish plastic and aluminum bodies that fit in nicely with the popular aesthetic of the company's smartphones.
The Evo View 4G goes on sale Sunday, the Flyer went on sale in late May -- and the two devices have a lot in common.
Essentially, they are the same tablet outside of color, memory and connectivity. The Flyer has a white and silver body with 16 gigabytes of onboard storage, and the Evo View 4G goes for a stealthier blacked-out look with a larger 32 gigabytes of storage.
Both feature the same 7-inch screen with a 1024 x 600-pixel screen resolution, a 1.5-GHz Qualcomm processor, and come equipped with a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front.
The two tablets also run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which is a version of Google's operating system designed more for phones than tablets, which is skinned in HTC's Sense user interface of spinning slides to group and organize content a user might want to find quickly.
HTC has said that a software update that will push the Flyer and the Evo View 4G to Android Honeycomb, Google's tablet-specific OS, will eventually become available -- but that hasn't happened yet, and the company hasn't said when it would.
And, of course, both of the HTC tablets use a stylus -- in certain cases that is. HTC has developed a handy note-taking and drawing app that allows people to scribble on the screen of the devices with a decent amount of precision -- enough for me to quickly draw a not-too-shabby rendition of Captain America.
The stylus, which HTC is calling the HTC Scribe, however, can't be used in place of a finger on either tablet's touch screen. Instead it's a complement to a user's hands.
Those who bought the $499 Flyer will have to fork over an extra $80 for a stylus, while those buying an Evo View 4G will get their stylus for free -- for a limited time -- as long as they buy a two-year data plan through Sprint to go along with the $399 gadget.
Unfortunately, neither tablet offers a place to store the digital pens in or on the tablets themselves and an $80 pen isn't a pen anyone would want to misplace.
Check out the video below to see the HTC Flyer tablet hands-on.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Image: An HTC Flyer tablet and its HTC Scribe stylus, used to draw Captain America. Credit: Armand Emamdjomeh / Los Angeles Times