updated 10:50 pm EST, Wed January 11, 2012
Toshiba shows us its current and future tablets
During Toshiba's CES booth tour, the company showed off its latest and greatest wares. Of the most interest were the current and soon-to-be-released tablets, along with some interesting concepts the company is considering. We got our mitts on the company's Excite X10 Android tablet, which is claimed to be thinnest and lightest, at 7.7mm and 1.18lbs, respectively. It certainly feels nice and light, yet solid when held, and the brushed aluminum rear panel offers a sure grip.
Whether that's worth the premium over an iPad 2 ($530 versus $500 for 16GB models) is questionable, as it's the Android ecosystem to which a buyer is relegated. The hardware is certainly appealing, and the addition of the microSDHC card reader for expansion, a microUSB and a microHDMI ports are welcome. The 1.2GHz, dual-core TI chip also seemed not to break a sweat when navigating the admittedly empty and app-free tablet. Compared to Apple's tablet, the Excite X10 also gets an LED flash for its rear five-megapixel camera. Rounding out the specs are a GPS (another thing the iPad in Wi-Fi guise lacks), an accelerometer, a gyroscope, eCompass and ambient light sensors.
We were told the tablet may ship with Android 4.0 onboard, rather than the current 3.2 when it arrives sometime mid-quarter, and likely by March. If it doesn't ship with Android 4.0 out of the box, it will get a quick update soon thereafter, we were told.
In comparison, the Thrive 10 also on display was about twice as thick, and its rear paneal was a rubberized plastic. It is removable, however, granting access to the battery. The added girth also allows it to get a full-sized SD card slot and HDMI ports.
Other tablets on-hand at the booth -- albeit behind glass -- included a 13.3-inch HD concept and a 7.7-inch AMOLED-screened devices. The former may show up later this year, perhaps with Windows 8 or Android onboard, though this is yet to be determined. The AMOLED tablet would obviously be an expensive one, as display prices are still relatively high.
A 5.1-inch tablet that resembled a stretched smartphone also peered behind glass, sporting a 21:9 aspect ratio. This seems to be the least practical idea, though, as the lackluster success of the LG BL40 showed, and that was a smartphone so it should prove to be more useful.
Finally, there was another tablet deep in an aquarium, showing off magnetic resonance charging tech along with its waterproof charactaristics. The tablet was said not to have a battery installed, instead relying on the charger located on the other side of the Plexiglas.
We hope to see at least one of the tablets make it to production.
Toshiba Excite X10
Toshiba Thrive 10
Toshiba 13.3-inch HD tablet concept
Toshiba 7.7-inch AMOLED tablet concept
Toshiba 5.1-inch concept tablet
Toshiba waterproof tablet concept with wireless charging