The Flyer sits alongside the Dell Streak 7 as being powerful seven-inch tablets, which emerged alongside 10-inch tablets that ran on Android 3.0, aka Honeycomb. Unfortunately, Google confirmed after Android 3.0’s release that the platform lacked support for smaller-screens than a 10-inch, 1024×600 pixel display could allow for. Worse, Google violated open source licenses and outright refused to release the source code; preventing others from patching Android 3.0 to run properly on seven-inch tablets.
As we saw with the Dell Streak 7, upon the release of Android 3.2, support for these small-yet-powerful tablets finally came to fruition. However, while Dell committed early to the upgrade, HTC stayed relatively quiet. Today, HTC began pushing the Flyer upgrade to European 3G variants of the Flyer, and promised to release updates for the Wi-Fi variants globally. The update will be pushed over-the-air, and will not wipe user memory.
One device remains unconfirmed however, and that is the HTC EVO View 4G, the Sprint-exclusive WiMAX-and-CDMA relative of the Flyer 3G and Flyer Wi-Fi. As we saw with Dell, the T-Mobile HSPA+ variant of the Dell Streak 7 did not get upgraded to Android 3.2, and is stuck for life at Android 2.2, Froyo. Many are concerned that the HTC EVO View 4G may suffer a similar fate. Both the Sprint EVO View 4G and T-Mobile Dell Streak 7 suffer from somewhat lackluster sales, sparked by similar constraints; high device pricing.
While T-Mobile and Dell maintained strict pricing controls on the Dell Streak 7, Sprint and HTC have been a bit more forgiving, allowing wholesalers to dump overstock of the EVO View 4G onto the market for nearly at-cost pricing, as low as $239 in fire sales, and $289 in sustained sales pricing. Sprint has also rolled out a 1 GB Tablet Data Plan which we covered and took advantage of recently.
Google recently released the source code to all versions of Honeycomb, alongside the release of source code for Android 4, Ice Cream Sandwich. Honeycomb is significantly more in-line with Android 4 than Android 2 versions, as Android 4/ICS is built off of Honeycomb. For tablet owners, Honeycomb is a major improvement over Android 2.0, which was designed strictly for cell phones, and Android 3.0 was designed strictly for tablets. Android 4 unifies this experience, with one platform designed for both smartphone and tablet. Android 4 however does this as the cost of lower-end device support; Android 4 requires much of the hardware that tablets, and powerful smartphones share, and generally will not perform properly on low-end devices without both custom designs, and major reengineering.