updated 07:50 am EST, Mon January 3, 2011
Toshiba shows Android 2.4 tablet ahead of CES
Toshiba today showed off its second ever Android tablet with a very early look at a new 10-inch model. The unnamed design uses a 10-inch display but has upgraded from the Folio 100's Android 2.2 to the tablet-native Honeycomb, or Android 2.4. Like its predecessor, it will use NVIDIA's twin-core Tegra 2 chip and support 1080p video, but it will be upgraded to a 1280x800 display and support both a five-megapixel back camera and a front two-megapixel example.
The design makes an improvement in ergonomics as well with a rubberized back and a replaceable rear plate that lets users customize the look. Toshiba has promised both regular size HDMI and USB connectors as well as mini USB and an SD card slot. Internet access will be limited to Wi-Fi at first, although it will have Bluetooth and GPS. Carrier deals might happen later, the company said.
Android Market access will be built-in, but Toshiba will try its hand at its own Toshiba Places portal for media downloads and BookPlace for buying and reading publications. The design will be slightly heavier and thicker than the iPad, at 1.7 pounds and 0.6 inches, and is predicted to have a significantly lower battery life of seven hours.
The tablet is being unveiled nearly half a year early and won't ship until June, although it will reach the US. Toshiba said it expected pricing to remain competitive with the iPad, although Apple is expected to have a new model before Toshiba and could affect the view.
Launching the new tablet is effectively a reboot for Toshiba. The Japanese firm rushed to get an iPad rival into the market with the Folio but was embarrassed after it was pulled from UK shelves due to a large number of customer complaints. Most of those revolved around software bugs that were recently patched, but poor display quality and a sleep bug have reportedly persisted.
The long-term launch plan reflects an increasing pattern around Honeycomb-based tablets that will be unveiled this week at CES but which won't ship until mid-year. Vizio's Via Tablet won't be ready until May, and most Honeycomb tablets may have to wait until at least late March as only a handful of companies might have early access. [via AP]