updated 04:40 pm EST, Thu March 10, 2011
Toshiba claims Android 3 tablet hits iPad 2 prices
Toshiba Australia's Information Systems GM Rob Wilkinson claimed that his company's upcoming Android 3.0 tablet would trump the iPad 2. He expected that Toshiba could equal Apple's pricing but with a device that would be "richer in features." The Tegra 2-based tablet had its drawbacks, he told Smarthouse, but it would overall do well, especially as Toshiba would sell it through traditional PC shops rather than try to push it through carrier stores.
"We believe that our device is superior to the Apple device, it may be a little heavier... but it does have a lot of features that the iPad 2 does not have," he said.
Aside from a more flexible operating system, most of Toshiba's advantages are now limited to cameras and expansion. It has a five-megapixel rear camera, a two-megapixel front camera, as well as a removable battery, native HDMI, a true USB port and an SD card slot. Its 10-inch, 1280x800 display and other traits are virtually identical to the Xoom, however, and Toshiba hasn't said whether it's using a high-quality display like the iPad's or a middling display such as that on its Motorola rival.
Wilkinson also acknowledged that the tablet wasn't shipping. He hinted that it might arrive in May, a month earlier than the previously mentioned June target, but still left it shipping about two months later. Most of the companies that announced tablets weeks or even months before Apple have also so far failed to ship, or in the cases of RIM and Samsung haven't given release schedules beyond wide seasonal targets.
The new tablet is expected to be a major improvement over Toshiba's past efforts, but the claims have been hurt by the firm's past track record. Its first attempt at a Tegra 2-based Android tablet, the Folio 100, was pulled from British stores after a rash of complaints about both the buggy software and poor build quality. A large fix cured most of the software issues, although it was still using Android 2.2 with customizations and has never sold in large numbers.