HTC is this week’s latest contender, as the company appears poised to launch three new tablets in the first half of 2011. We may see the first of these as soon as March, according to a report from DigiTimes. Dubbed the “Flyer,” HTC’s first tablet release is said to look like a larger version of the company’s Desire smartphone (above).
The Flyer will ship with the most-current Android version, 2.3 (Gingerbread), rather than the heavily-hyped 3.0 Honeycomb version, the upcoming Android OS designed specifically for tablet devices. DigiTimes says customers will be able to upgrade to Honeycomb once the OS is widely available. Google has not yet announced Honeycomb’s exact release date.
A March release for HTC would put the company in line with the slew of spring tablet releases to come, including the Motorola Xoom(which will launch with Honeycomb) and the recently leaked HP webOS tablet offering.
HTC announced three new 4G-enabled Android smartphones at CES in January: the Thunderbolt, the Evo Shift and the Inspire. Much like the Flyer tablet, all three phones operate on Android version 2.2 (Froyo).
For smartphone hardware manufacturers, keeping pace with Google’s frequent upgrade schedule is difficult. In the first two years of Android’s release, the OS was updated 4 times. And with carrier contracts usually requiring two years between free phone upgrades, that’s a lot of potential OS updates to be missed (especially if the phone isn’t able to update its OS when the new version is released).
HTC declined our requests for comment. – WIRED.com