HTC is taking its tablet talents to AT&T (NYSE:T) in the form of the HTC Jetstream, a 10.1-inch high-definition WXGA slate powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.5 GHz dual-core processor.
This slate, with 32GB of memory, will cost $699 plus contract when it arrives in stores Sept. 4.
The device promises a number of firsts. It's HTC's first Android 3.1 "Honeycomb" tablet, as well as HTC's first 10-inch Android slate, following the 7-inch HTC Flyer and HTC Evo View 4G slates. It's also AT&T's first 4G Long-Term Evolution/Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (LTE/HSPA+) tablet, promising speedy network access.
The Jetstream's release is also the first time HTC's Sense user interface, a pleasure to use on Android smartphones, will grace a Honeycomb tablet.
As with the Evo View 4G, the Jetstream will come with the HTC Scribe digital pen for free, an $80 tool that proved very valuable in eWEEK's test of the View 4G. Scribe also integrates with the Evernote note-taking application to let users store annotated documents in the cloud.
The device also has an 8-megapixel back camera that captures and plays back video in 1080p, as well as a 1.3MP shutter in front for video chats.
Unfortunately, at $699, the Jetstream appears to be a high-priced tablet in a sea of expensive Honeycomb machines, which thus far have failed to make a dent in Apple's massive iPad market share lead.
Even with the LTE radio, many customers will balk at buying this Honeycomb tablet when they can get a thinner, lighter iPad 2 for $499 and access to over 100,000 iPad applications. The Jetstream weighs 1 pound, 9 ounces at a time when the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10/1 trade ports for a svelte, sub-1.3-pound heft.
Moreover, some consumers who want a tablet not made by Apple may be waiting for the long-rumored Amazon Honeycomb tablet, which is expected to be priced under $300 to provide a compelling alternative to the iPad.
Even so, AT&T got a little creative with its pricing. AT&T postpaid tablet customers now have a new $35, 3GB monthly data plan option with a two-year contract, but postpaid customers who opt not to ink a long-term deal may choose $14.99 for 250MB or $25 for 2GB.
Buyers who choose the postpaid option will see the data charges on their monthly wireless bill. Beware of overage; customers on the 2GB plan who exceed their monthly data allotment will be charged $10 for each gigabyte over their plan.
Prepaid customers may dole out $14.99 for 250MB or $25 for 2GB. Customers on the 2GB plan who exceed their monthly data allotment may choose to purchase an additional 2GB for $25.
Offering the simplicity of a single bill, the postpaid option will show up on customers' monthly wireless bill after the data is used. The new postpaid billing option will be available online at www.att.com and across AT&T retail locations.