Android this week: HTC One arrives; TweetDeck gone soon; Galaxy Note 8.0 impresses

The big HTC One launch date came and went this week, with two carriers selling the phone in stores on Friday. The Android(s goog) handset is HTC’s flagship phone that has much riding on its success: HTC is hoping this hero can turn the tide of falling sales and revenue over the past 18 months. Early HTC One reviews are mostly favorable and having used a review unit for a little while, I generally concur: This is probably the best Android phone on the market you can buy today.

HTC OneI’ll have a full review forthcoming but there’s little not to like. HTC has designed and built one of the most appealing smartphones in recent memory; even when compared to Apple’s iPhone 5(s aapl). The One performs admirably in all use cases and works particularly well when shooting images in low light. Those pictures look fantastic on the full-HD screen as well. But not everyone is getting a chance to experience the HTC One.

Enthusiasts that pre-ordered an unlocked, 64 GB Developer Edition of the phone for $649 were expected to have the phone in hand on April 19. Instead, all they received was an email explaining that their phones were delayed. People that pay full price for a smartphone are typically the most passionate and vocal; getting these phones to this group of people could have helped HTC in the word-of-mouth marketing department. For the moment, it’s a missed opportunity for the company.

Also missing — or soon to missing, that is — is Twitter’s TweetDeck application. Last month, Twitter said it would be retiring the TweetDeck mobile app so it could concentrate on a solid web app experience. This week, the TweetDeck blog was updated with more detail:

TweetDeck AIR, TweetDeck for Android and TweetDeck for iPhone will be removed from their respective app stores and will stop functioning on May 7.

It might be handy to find an .apk of the current TweetDeck Android app sometime before May 7. If you already have the app installed, it should keep working as far as I know. But if you switch phones or buy a new phone and want to use the TweetDeck app, you’ll want to keep a copy of the .apk handy.

Last weekend, I bought a Galaxy Note 8.0 even though I was unsure if I’d keep it. I like tablets in this size and thought that the included S-Pen would make the experience even better. It does and overall, I like the Note 8.0 — see my detailed first impressions here — but I’m still not sold on the device.

Galaxy Note 8.0 in hand

Galaxy Note 8.0 in hand

It’s not because the Note 8.0 doesn’t deliver; it’s a solid Android tablet. I don’t even mind the $70 premium over a comparable iPad mini: The Note 8.0 offers functions and hardware that simply aren’t possible with the iPad mini. The issue seems to be one of timing.

It’s a reasonable expectation that the next iPad mini will have a higher resolution display and yet the Note 8.0 only has a 1280 x 800 screen. That’s the same resolution on the Galaxy Tab 7.7 (which has a better Super AMOLED screen) that I bought more than a year ago and — likely because of my daily Chromebook Pixel use — my eyes now crave higher resolution screens.

While I get digital ink support and the ability to run two apps at one time on the Note 8.0, my Galaxy Tab 7.7 might suffice for now. I also suspect that we’ll see other high-resolution Android tablets from Samsung and its competitors in the second half of 2013. As a result, I’m leaning towards returning the Galaxy Note 8.0. Had it come out 6 months ago, perhaps I’d feel differently. Regardless, if you’re looking for an 8-inch Android tablet with stylus support now, you won’t likely be disappointed by the Note 8.0.