We're still waiting for final review samples, but how do the Playbook and Flyer compare in a spec test?
Best tablets 7-inches: Design and Build
Instead of making another (yawn) black tablet, HTC’s tablet is made from aluminium with white accents, which it instantly stand out while remaining unmistakebly HTC. It feels very solid in the hand and certainly is a premium product, although it's manageable 415g . The multitouch 7-inch screen has a resolution of 1024x600.
Another black tablet. Sure it's nice looking, but stylistucally hard from 10-inch rivals. At 425g there's a mere 10g between this and the Flyer. The 7-inch screen has a 1024x600 resolution and multitouch support, during our time with the Playbook at CES it felt very responsive.
Best tablets 7-inches: OS
Surprisingly HTC has decided to launch the Flyer on Android 2.4, instead of Honeycomb, although an update is coming soon. But instead of using Android's UI it will be running a new version of HTC Sense, which has been optimised for tablets, promising 3D graphics. It looks good, but until we get a chance to try it, we'll opt for the Playbook.
Last year RIM brought QNX and has used its technology to power a brand new OS. Open applications appear in a carousel in the centre of the screen, these are live, so update automatically. Flick up to close them and swipe left to swap between. Underneath, are five categories: All, Internet, Media, Blackberry and Games, click each one and relevant icons appear underneath. Swipe up from the bottom at any point to return to the main menu. It is exceptionally intuitive and different to anything we've seen.
Best tablets 7-inches: Power
Surprisingly the Flyer runs a 1.5Ghz single processor, with 1GH RAM, instead of dual core. OK, HTC seems to be targetting more business users than gamer (although you'll get an OnLive app) and for day-to-day tasks there isn't a great difference between single and dual cores, but, every other new tablet has dual cores.
RIM has equipped the Playbook with a dual core processor and 1Gb RAM. During out time with the device it felt exceptionally quick, effortlessly letting us swap between 3D games, Video and we browser. Impressive.
Best tablets 7-inches: Storage and connectivity
The Flyer has 32GB internal memory, expandable via a MicroSD slot. Elsewhere there's Bluetooth 3.0 and N WiFi. It launches with 3G and WiFi, with a WiFi only version coming later.
Released initially in a WiFi version, with a 3G version coming later. In the meantime Blackberry users can use their handsets as a modem. It comes initially with 16GB internal storage and a microSD slot, although larger capacities may be available.
Best tablets 7-inches: Conclusion
In terms of processor power, the Flyer lags behind the Playbook, it also loses marks for not launching with Honeycomb.Although it does have a unique selling point in the form of HTC Scribe and we love its design and build. In contrast tThe Playbook isn't going to win any design innnovation awards, but having used it, we were really impressed by it's power and usability. The unique OS is what sets the Playbook apart from the pack and could prove a winner. But this all depends on on crucial factor - price, both tablets need to remain competitive, and be well under £500 to compete with the iPad.
HTC Flyer launch date: Q2, link: HTC
Blackberry Playbook launch date: TBC, link: RIM
Source: T3 Tech Videos