Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blogging by the Bay: #BlogHer11 (Part 4) - HTC Insight Meetups + Review of HTC Flyer Tablet

Entrance to the HTC Suite at BlogHer11
What features make for a perfect smartphone?

I love technology. I wish I could play with gadgets all day. So when I found out that HTC would be at Blogher11, I signed up as soon as possible for their HTC Insight Meetups.

The HTC Insight Meetups were groups of women bloggers meeting with HTC managers to talk about what we love and hate about our phones. There is just something about moms and smartphones that go together. We are very dependent of our smartphones for email on the go, calendar scheduling and reminders, games for keeping our kids occupied and photos and video in a pinch, I also use my smartphone to listen to music for pleasure and when I exercise, read ebooks, access Twitter and Facebook, and to check prices on eBay and while I am shopping in stores.  I have reviewed a number of great HTC products including the HTC Thunderbolt and the HTC Incredible so I was really looking forward to telling HTC some of my thoughts in person.

HTC had a suite in the San Diego Convention Center that they transformed into a beautiful spa like environment with a conference area for the Insight Meetups and a lounge complete with comfy couches, device demos, free Wi-Fi, beverages and yummy snacks, and a massage area.  When I and Laura from entered the suite, we knew we were in for a great experience.

At the HTC Insight Meetup
Women designing the perfect phone
The HTC Insight Meetup was great.  Each table of women were given the task to design the perfect smartphone and some really great ideas came out of the session. I would have never thought of some of the ideas, but really wanted some of the suggested phone features once I heard the ideas. Here is a list of the ideas I liked best:

- Second battery strategically attached to the back of the phone so that it is always accessible but takes up no additional space.

- Row of fully programmable buttons on the side of the phone so that the phone user can program which apps she needs direct access to.

- Standard screen size of  4.3" (diagonal) for easy viewing of information while allowing the phone to still fit comfortably in a woman's hand.

- Ability for a phone user to pick from a bundle of apps rooted to the phone. Suggested bundles were a Social Media Bundle and an Entertainment Bundle. This would keep the phone from having wasted storage space for apps that the owner will never use.

- Minimum 8 megapixel camera with a mandatory flash so that photos taken with the phone are sharp enough to be blown up to 8x12 size.

HTC Flyer Tablet- a 7" device with integrated pen techonlogy
In addition to talking about the perfect phone, HTC allowed me to demo one of their devices in advance of coming to BlogHer - the HTC Flyer Tablet.

The HTC Flyer is a 7" android tablet that is small enough to easily fit into my purse. Back in January, I demoed the Samsung Galaxy Tab during my trip to CES and both the HTC Flyer and the Samsung Galaxy Tab are similar in size, weight and function. The HTC Flyer does differ in appearance in that is it slightly longer than the Galaxy Tab and the back is stylishly white and silver in color with a solid aluminum unibody build. The device that I was loaned was Wifi only so I had to use it at home connected to my network or with a Verizon 4G Mifi for on the go.

Look Mom, I'm Writing on the Tablet!
The HTC Flyer differs from other tablets due to its HTC Scribe Technology. The HTC Flyer comes with a pen that allows the user to "write" on the screen. When I first saw the pen, I was very leery to use it because using a pen seemed to be a strange way to interact with a tablet. But after I tried it, I could understand how the pen technology could be useful to people who like to take notes in free hand. The HTC Flyer tablet integrates with Evernote thus allowing me to write in free hand on the tablet screen and then save my notes to my Evernote account.

Free hand note taking with the HTC Scribe Technology on the HTC Flyer
Another use of the HTC Scribe Technology is to make notes on top of whatever is pictured on the tablet screen and then save the screen shot to a file.  I tried this out in Twitter by making a few notes using the pen and then I emailed the screenshot to myself.  See the photo above.  One of the shortfalls with the pen technology is that you cannot store the pen on the device and if you loss the pen and you are out $80 for a replacement. Ouch!

Laura and me with Nicole Coddington (center), Senior Integration Designer at HTC
Meet the Designer...
Since Laura and I work in IT, one of the best things about the HTC Insight Meet-up was meeting Nicole Coddington, a Senior Integration Designer at HTC. Nicole was responsible for designing the pen technology integrated into the HTC Flyer Tablet. I cannot think of any other place but at a BlogHer conference where I would be able to demo a tech product and then meet the person who designed the technology. Sweet!

Laura was in heaven!
HTC Quietly Brilliant Lounge
After our 60 minute Insight Meet-up was over, Laura and I had a few yummy snacks as we waited for our massages to begin. The massages combined with the wonderful spa smells were perfect for relaxing and I almost fell asleep. HTC really hit the nail on the head for a perfect experience for women with their HTC Quietly Brilliant Lounge and Insight Meetings.  Well done HTC.

Next up... 
 Stay tuned as I tell you about our other adventures in San Diego in the next installment in my series "BlogHer11: Blogging by the Bay".

NEXT IN THE SERIES: Blogging by the Bay: #BlogHer11 (Part 5) - Bringing Home the Bacon at the #CheapSallyParty


Disclosure: Complementary food and massages were provided by HTC. HTC loaned me a HTC Flyer to demo the product before the BlogHer11 conference.  I was not required to write about the product that I demoed. Each participant in the HTC Insight Meet-ups was given a complementary HTC device as a thank you for attending. All opinions stated are my own.

The Embassy Suites sponsored 3 nights of Laura's and my hotel stay for BlogHer11 at the Embassy Suites Hotel San Diego Bay

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