updated 10:35 am EDT, Thu September 1, 2011
Toshiba Excite official with slim design, fast CPU
Toshiba confirmed plans on Thursday to make amends for a year of rough entries into tablets with a completely new model. The AT200, better known as the Excite, drops the thick rubberized shell of the Thrive to become the thinnest tablet of any type. At 0.3 inches thick, it's thinner than the iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 10.1 and is even slimmer than the slightly thicker Galaxy Tab 7.7 unveiled the same day.
The 10-inch, 1280x800 slate still carries expansion but switches from the full-size ports that led to the bulky design to micro USB, microSD, and mini HDMI outputs. At 1.23 pounds, the AT200 is also lighter than many of its peers, even with a switch to a metal back. Battery life is still at least comparable to the Thrive at a maximum eight hours.
Toshiba ships it with Android 3.2 and consequently has the freedom to change processors, moving to a dual-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP chip that should outrun the Tegra 2 that most other Android competitors have been forced to use. Cameras are strictly on par with peers at five megapixels for the rear as well as a two-megapixel front camera. Versions will carry as much as 64GB built-in.
Addressing another one of its sore points, Toshiba said it would start selling the AT200 in the UK immediately. Other countries like the US are expected soon, but weren't part of the unveilings.
The new tablet is a potential admission as to Toshiba's initial overconfidence in its ability to compete in the market. Its first Android tablet, the Folio 100 from last year, was temporarily pulled from UK shelves after major software flaws and hardware quality triggered complaints. It tried to chase after the iPad in the US but bragged about a non-shipping device and, after delivering the Thrive six months after it was first shown, had to once again fix serious software issues.