Rumours sometimes don't lie - HTC was tipped last year to be launching a tablet, and tablet is the HTC Flyer, announced today at Mobile World Congress.
The Flyer takes on the Samsung Galaxy Tab in size and portability, with a seven-inch touch-screen set in a sleek aluminium unibody that weighs about that of a paperback book. Though it launches with Android 2.3, it willl be updateable to the 3.0 Honeycomb OS "ASAP". Like HTC's smartphones, it will also be skinned with the comany's Sense interface, refreshed for tablet. On tablet, HTC Sense looks pretty much the same with the same multi-screen setup, but will introduce a 3D carousel of widgets to put your favourite content and information front and center.
Uniquely, the Flyer can also function as a digital notebook, with HTC's new Scribe feature, which not only lets the touch-screen work with a stylus, it will capture audio of a conversation in time with your written notes so that tapping on any word takes you to its chronological place in the recording.
Notes are integrated with a calendar so that when an appointment reminder pops up, you'll br promted to start a new note, or even begin in a previous note for recurring meetings. The Flyer is also the first tablet with integrated Evernote, a comprehensive memo, photo and audio recorder.
HTC is also launching a video download service, HTC Watch, with the tablet, allowing you to download from hundreds of HD movies for viewing on the 1024x600 pixel screen.
Still on the multimedia front, it will come preloaded with OnLive, a cloud-based gaming service that lets you play video games on a TV without the need for a console. Integrated on the tablet, it allows you to stream content over the internet from tablet to TV, or of course, to play on the tablet itself. Games including Assassin's Creed II, NB2K11 and Lego Batman will be available from launch.
Spec-wise, we're looking at a 1.5GHz processor, which is faster than the 1GHz found in existing tablets such as the iPad and Galaxy Tab, but pipped by the dual-core chips in new arrivals like the Motorola Xoom and Acer Iconia Tab. 1GB of RAM should keep multi-tasking smooth while internal storage is 32MB, expandable by a further 32GB in its microSD slot. Wi-Fi, HSDPA and GPS are present, for internet and sat-nav, while GSM support means you can make voice calls on the device.
It also packs two cameras - a five-megapixel one for regular pictures, and a 1.3-meg front-facer for video calls. The video player supports XVID, the format which most online video is coded in, so good news for anyone who downloads their movies.
The HTC Flyer launches in Q2, price TBC.