Toshiba has thrown down the gauntlet at Apple’s feet with its new tablet, which is being introduced at this year’s CES. I got the opportunity to briefly check it out at a Toshiba event party at the Venetian Hotel and Casino on Tuesday night (January 4, 2011). Director of Product Marketing Philip Osako was on hand to answer my questions.
The Toshiba tablet (which doesn’t have a confirmed name yet) is the company’s answer to the iPad. It weighs about 1.7 pounds and boasts a 10.1″ display, compared to the iPad’s 1.6 pounds and 9.7″ display. It has a 1280 x 800 resolution, as opposed to the iPad’s 1024 x 768. Similar to the iPad, you can use it in portrait or landscape mode by holding the device either horizontally or vertically.
The Toshiba Tablet will be powered by Google’s Android operating system. Although the prototype at the party is using an older version of Android, Osako explained that the units will ship with the upcoming edition called Honeycomb. It’s unclear however, whether or not the device can be upgraded with future versions of Android.
Gamers will be happy to know that the tablet will feature the NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor and a built-in gyroscope for motion gaming. Furthermore, the tablet will be able to…(drumroll please) support Flash. I can practically hear Toshiba’s glove slapping Apple in the face.
I picked up the tablet and fiddled with it for a bit. Although it has a larger display than the iPad, the device itself doesn’t seem as bulky. I particularly liked the black, rubber tire-like back, which makes it look rugged. The rubbery, textured back serves a dual purpose, as it also makes the tablet easier to grip. Osako pointed out that eventually you’ll be able to customize the tablet’s back with more colorful options. Most importantly, the back slides out to reveal the replaceable battery. Ya hear that Apple?
Oh, and the tablet has two cameras. The front facing one is 2 megapixels while the rear facing has 5 megapixels. There’s a video chat option as well. Battery life may be an issue, as it only has about seven hours of video playback. This is in comparison to the iPad’s 10+ hours of battery life while watching movies. I was not given an estimated number for doing lesser taxing tasks such as surfing the ‘net or checking email.
Osako didn’t give an estimated retail price but I imagine it’ll be competitively priced against the iPad, which has a starting retail price of $499. It will most likely be released in the first half of 2011.