HTC Corp (宏達電), the world’s No. 5 smartphone brand, yesterday said its much-awaited tablet PC, dubbed the Flyer, is set to hit shelves later this month.
Unveiled in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the 7-inch tablet will cost NT$17,900 for the Wi-Fi, 16 gigabyte (GB) version, while the 3G, 32GB version will set consumers back NT$20,900.
In the crowed tablet market, HTC said the Flyer would offer a variety of “innovative features” to attract consumers.
“The concept for the Flyer was first conceived two to three years ago and we had to make sure the product would be innovative before we launched it,” HTC Asia-Pacific region vice president Jack Tong (董俊良) told a press conference.
The company said what sets the Flyer apart from its competitors is its stylus called the “Scribe.”
The Scribe isn’t used for navigation, but it lets users do things such as take notes, draw pictures on the screen or mark up Web pages. A built-in application allows the user to record audio while writing, a feature HTC said is a good fit for students, artists and professionals, such as lawyers and doctors.
While the stylus will be sold separately as an accessory in the US, local versions of the Flyer will include the stylus.
The company also touted another application, HTC Watch, which puts a library of the latest, premium movies and TV shows at users’ fingertips.
HTC Watch uses progressive download technology that makes it possible to watch videos without waiting for a large file to finish downloading. It also allows users to rent or buy videos, and if purchased, users can watch them on up to five different HTC devices.
The Flyer will ship with Google Inc’s Android 2.4 operating system instead of Android 3.0 — the latest operating system tailored for use with tablets.
Also, instead of dual-core processors like those found in most tablets, the Flyer has a 1.5 GHz single-core processor from Qualcomm Inc.
KGI Securities Co (凱基證券) said in a research note last week that it was upbeat about HTC’s tablet shipments because it has plans to launch models running on Android 3.0 and using dual-core processors.
KGI estimated that global shipments of the Flyer would hit 1 million to 1.5 million by the end of this year, representing a market share of less than 3 percent.
The contribution of tablets to HTC’s overall sales this year will be less than 1 percent, KGI added.