The HTC Flyer was HTC’s first tablet, which I have to say, although not too bad looking, it didn’t really impress, with perhaps the one exception of promoting the handwriting and drawing features on it. But otherwise it showed how HTC didn’t really understand tablets when they entered the market.
First, it sold for around $600 in most places, and that’s without the $80 stylus. That was one of the biggest mistakes HTC did, because they followed Motorola’s failed pricing strategy of starting with a high price. Both HTC and Motorola should’ve known from the beginning that a tablet that is more expensive than the iPad was not going to sell well, if at all, in the market.
I don’t know if the pricing was intentional, or because the components ended up being more expensive than they initially thought, or because they wanted to recover their development costs faster, but it was a poor strategy on their part, and unfortunately one they actually repeated with the Jetstream later on, which started at $700.
The other things they got wrong was the single core processor, which may be fine for a phone, but not for a tablet where you multi-task a lot more often, and definitely not for a tablet at that price. This was because HTC still had a very tight relationship with Qualcomm, and Qualcomm was far from having ready their dual-core processor, and they didn’t go with the Tegra 2 or OMAP 4430 either.
It also came with Android 2.3, which wasn’t the tablet optimized version of Android, and that plus the fact that they merely ported their Sense UI from the phones, made it look as if the Flyer is just one big phone.
But there’s some good news. A year after the launch, it seems that the Flyer is finally getting a tablet optimized version of Android – Android 4.0. It should receive this update sometime in the first quarter of this year, which means in February or March (I’d bet on March). Here’s the conversion between a HTC customer and the customer service:
HTC: or wait for the update to ice cream sandwich.
Bruno: When is the update expected?
HTC: the first quarter of this year.
Seeing how there are already a lot of 7″ alternatives out there, including the Kindle Fire or Nook Color, which can be rooted, and are somewhere around $200-$250, plus the upcoming Asus tablet that will cost $250 and have a quad core Tegra 3, HTC will have to do a lot more than just update its tablet. It will have to lower the price around that level, too, otherwise I doubt they’ll sell anymore of these. But at least they are supporting their original tablet customers, so that’s good. The question is until when? I’d like to see manufacturers bring the major Android updates for at least 2 years after a product launch. That means the Flyer should get Android 5.0, too (if only).