updated 11:55 am EST, Wed March 10, 2010
Toshiba hopes to rival iPad early
Toshiba is developing tablets of its own to get into the category being established by the iPad, the company's US notebook lead Jeff Barney said in comments today. He anticipates a line of devices to arrive either by late this year or early 2011. No details were given to Fortune of what the devices would involve, but Barney acknowledged that Toshiba would likely have to move fast to claim a stake in the market before Apple and others risk crowding it out.
"It has proved to be a mistake to underestimate these new categories," he said. "And besides, we need new category creation to grow our industry."
Toshiba is already involved in tablets as it launched the Journe Touch to Europeans late last year, but it's unlikely that device or a revision of it will be what reaches the US. It was conceived more as a mobile Internet device and has a custom, fully-contained version of Windows CE that doesn't allow third-party apps. What OS it would use instead isn't clear: Toshiba has been one of Microsoft's most loyal devotees and has seldom used a non-Windows OS, but Windows 7 would require conventional, bulkier x86 processors that haven't been found in most tablets unveiled this year.