Toshiba To Launch Thrive Android Tablet In July

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Toshiba’s 10-inch tablet will enter the fray in the US in early July with a price that undercuts Apple by $70

Toshiba is taking the wraps off its Thrive Android Honeycomb tablet in July when it launches in the US. The prices announced appear to undercut Apple’s iPad 2 ($499) with the model range starting at $429 (£260).

UK users will have to wait to see how the US price for the 10-inch tablet translates with Apple charging £332.50 (ex VAT), which is £29 more expensive than the US. A price under £300 for the Toshiba Thrive would seem likely.

Toshiba Hopes To Thrive In Booming Market

For the money, Toshiba appears to be offering much more and, in some cases, higher grade hardware than the iPad. For example, the video-conferencing camera is 2.1 Mpixels but the rear-facing camera has a 5Mpixels resolution which should be more than ample for the 1280 x 800 pixel display.

The device is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor which gives 1GHz per core, on a par with iPad.

Bristling with connectivity ports, the tablet includes a HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) external monitor port, standard USB, mini USB and an SD card slot. This makes the frame thicker than the super-slim iPad. Battery life is rated between six and seven hours when using continuous high definition (HD) playback.

The Android 3.1 operating system is backed by Android Market apps but the tablet is expected to arrive with Toshiba’s Marketplace, part of the Toshiba Places content service for Toshiba portables and TVs. Places includes social networking, free online content from sites like DailyMotion, streaming TV content such as BBC iPlayer, and pay-per-view movie rental.

On a purely aesthetic front, the back cover can be swapped for different coloured finishes to suit the user.

The lead that Apple holds in the tablet market is waning slightly but Canalys still rates the iPad as holding 74 percent during the last quarter, despite iPad shipments being down 31 percent sequentially.

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