Enterprise Mobility: Toshiba Android Tablet Prototypes Pique Interest at CES
LAS VEGASAt last year's Consumer Electronics Show here, Toshiba piqued attendees' curiosity by showing off a prototype tablet with a rubberized back and removable battery. That reference device evolved into the Toshiba Thrive, a 10.1-inch Android 3.1 Honeycomb tablet. Launched in the summer of 2011 at more than half an inch thick and 1.6 pounds, the Thrive was targeted at enterprise users, offering ports for USB 2.0, High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cables and an SD card. Toshiba launched a 7-inch model in the fall that wasn't much different from the original model. At CES 2012, eWEEK took a tour with Duc Dang, senior manager of product development for Toshiba, to view four tablets encased in plastic cubes. What you'll immediately see in these prototypes is that Toshiba has shed the clunky, easy-grip frame and extra weight that turned off fans of thin, lightweight tablets such as the Apple iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab lineup. Now, all are fitted with lightweight magnesium alloy casings. Toshiba did have some models of its forthcoming 10.1-inch Toshiba Excite X10 machine, which we handled briefly. Pardon the scantiness of specifics about the rest of the slates; Toshiba simply isn't ready to reveal them. Our bet is that by the time most of these tablets come to market later this year, they will be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Toshiba envisions this Android slate will be great for gaming and film watching, as well as video collaboration sessions for enterprise workers. It has USB 2.0, micro USB, micro HDMI ports and a full-sized SD slot for connectivity. Going forward, Dang said Toshiba plans to experiment with new tablet form factors in much the same way it does with its laptops.