Of the tablets that have been announced to compete with the iPad, the HTC Flyer is one of the more interesting ones because of how it is differentiating itself. The Flyer will have a 7-inch screen and support pen input for writing. HTC has emphasized that the pen is just another input device and that you can completely operate the Flyer with touch and not even use the pen if you chose. I like the idea of being able to use a pen to write in digital ink on a tablet.
Because the Flyer’s pen input is unique, the challenge is going to be with getting third party developers to enable their apps to use the pen. Over the years HTC has built up a nice library of software, but they still need third parties like Evernote to make their apps capable to use the pen.
Users who want to use the pen will just get frustrated with the Flyer if they are really limited in how often it can be used. With developer support being so important, it is really good news that HTC is releasing an API for their Scribe technology, which is the engine for the pen input.
Right now I am really leaning towards getting the Flyer when it is available, and I have visions of being able to write on it like I did with my Newton. I don’t need the handwriting recognition that Newton attempted to provide, but I do want software that really takes advantage of the pen for selecting things, drawing, and writing. Unfortunately, the Flyer may not be available for purchase until May or June of this year.