We expected Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC to show off plenty of new wares this week at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, and the company definitely didn’t disappoint.
HTC launched its first tablet, the Flyer, as well as teen-focused Salsa and Chacha Facebook phones, and updated many of its existing Android phones with the Incredible S, Desire S and Wildfire S.
First the tablet: The Flyer is a 7-inch Android tablet running a 1.5 gigahertz processor, with an aluminum case and a pressure-sensitive capacitive stylus. It’s surprising to see HTC launch its first tablet now considering countless other Android manufacturers hyped up their tablets last year. The Flyer will run Android 2.4 Gingerbread — the slightly updated version of Gingerbread that will help developers prepare for Android 3.0. It will also support OnLive’s cloud gaming service (HTC recently poured $40 million into OnLive to get the service on its devices).
The capacitive stylus is an interesting addition, and it’s one I think other manufacturers will adopt. While it’s nice to use the touch-screen interface on modern tablets with your fingers, a stylus is helpful for productivity tasks like handwriting or drawing.
The Salsa and Chacha Facebook phones aren’t terribly exciting — they’re slow, small phones meant for teens — but they’re an interesting development for Facebook, which has long denied that it will produce phones of its own. Both phones feature a context-aware Facebook button, which pulsates light whenever you’re looking at something that could be shared on Facebook. They’re definitely made for the younger crowd that spends most of its time on Facebook — anyone older will most likely find that dedicated Facebook button a waste of space.
The Salsa is a 3.4-inch slate-styled phone, while the Chacha features a smaller 2.6-inch screen with a hardware keyboard (think teeny bopper BlackBerry).
As for HTC’s refreshed phone lineup, the Incredible S is a new 4-inch device in the style of last year’s Incredible, while the Desire S is a 3.7-inch aluminum-clad update to the Desire. Both phones will feature front-facing cameras, while offering slight hardware bumps from their predecessors. The Wildfire S, on the other hand, will be a new low-end device with a slightly higher screen resolution than the original Widlfire.
HTC says that all of the devices should ship around the second quarter of 2011.